Penguin Poo Is The New Laughing Gas, Scientists Get High From Sniffing It

Salena Harshini |May 20, 2020

Penguins emit so much laughing gas that they make the scientists feel a bit carried away. What kind of sorcery is this? Read on for more details.

Now, you can not only find laughing gas at the dentist but also in penguin poop. If you are wondering how we know this, well, it is confirmed by a new study.

The Danish study looked into how a King Penguin colony’s activity affected the fluxes in soil greenhouse gas in South Georgia, north of Antarctica. Professor Bo Elberling, head of the study, said that penguin poop, aka guano, produces notably high nitrous oxide levels around their colonies.

King Penguin
King penguin poop induces laughing gas

For the unversed, nitrous oxide bears the very identical feature to the calmative laughing gas used at the dentist. The birds are continuing their circle of life, yet it is creating a few challenges to the scientist working nearby.

While conducting this study, the researchers who have been surrounded by penguin poop felt a bit funny, according to the professor.

In detail he said,

“After nosing about in guano for several hours, one goes completely cuckoo. One begins to feel ill and get a headache."

King Penguin Cuckoo
"My poo can make you feel cuckoo," penguin to man

“Truly intense” is how Bo Elberling described the experience of working in the environment full of these colonies.

Explaining this effect, the diet of penguins includes fish and krill which has a lot of nitrogen. And what comes in on one end goes out the other. Once the nitrogen goes from the faeces of the penguins to the ground, soil bacteria will turn it into laughing gas.

On another hand, nitrous oxide is said to be 300 times more contaminating to the environment compared to carbon dioxide.

Researchers are trying to gain a better knowledge of penguin excrement’s impact on the environment. This gassy situation may grow following the expansion of penguin colonies into Antarctica’s new areas.

Penguin Poop
Another interesting fact is: penguin poop is so pink that it can be seen from space
Penguin Poo
See those beautiful color strikes? They are in fact Antarctic penguins poo

However, penguins should not be blamed for our bigger climate problems.

Professor Elberling also shared,

"While nitrous oxide emissions in this case are not enough to impact Earth's overall energy budget.”

Well, at least now the scientists will be able to see what they are involved in during their fieldwork: a bank of penguin-produced gas.

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