Penguins and the potential energy-chemical energy transition

The time when Emperor Penguins brood coincides with the polar winter. While the male penguins sit on the eggs, the females go off to find food for the chicks that will hatch. The distance between the nesting site and the nearest food source can sometimes exceed 100 kilometers. For roughly four months until her chick hatches, the mother penguin swims around and collects food in her craw. When she takes over the care of the new hatchling, the father penguin departs on a walk for hunting that can last for a very long time.

The very surprising element in all this is that although penguins have fairly large bodies, their very short legs make walking difficult. Under normal conditions, this would lead to a considerable expense of energy. Penguins setting off on a long journey with only limited amounts of food should die of starvation.

So how is it, that in the face of such an apparent disadvantage, penguins can walk for many kilometers and reach the sea?

The answer reveals yet another miracle of creation.

Penguins walk by waddling from right to left, and back again. This pendulum-like gait allows penguins to save considerable quantities of energy. Penguins can overcome the disadvantage of exceedingly short legs by stepping sideways, thus tiring their muscles less. Indeed, at the end of every step they have meanwhile stored sufficient energy for the next one.

 Were they to walk straight instead of side to side, penguins would have to expend twice as much energy as any animal their size. Yet thanks to this special gait, the penguin expends energy only when beginning walking, and when stopping. And its limited amount of stored nourishment is enough for it to reach the sea.

Of course, a gait that conserves energy is not something the penguin could have discovered on its own. Moreover, this is something adopted by all penguins, not just one.

From the moment they are born, penguins know how to survive under the harsh conditions of winter. Any other behavior would have serious consequences, even death. It is out of the question for a penguin in the freezing cold to experiment with what it needs to do and finally decide to adopt this particular gait, which is yet another proof of God's love and compassion for living things. It is God Who creates penguins and inspires their behavior in them, Who has shaped all living things and created them together with all their incomparably perfect features.

2016-09-04 21:45:04

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