Tall Tales

Penguins ‘might be aliens’

And other stories from the stranger side of life

Speculation has emerged that penguins may be aliens after scientists found traces of a chemical from Venus in their droppings. Experts are struggling to explain how phosphine exists on Earth – 38 million miles away from Venus. Scientists in the UK who believe alien life forms may have already been detected say studying penguins could help them identify the types of organisms that exist on other worlds.

Rhino study wins Ig Nobel award

Studies that discovered it is safer to transport a rhinoceros upside-down and that beards may be an evolutionary development to help protect men’s faces from punches have won Ig Nobel prizes. Another study to receive a gong studied the ways cats communicate with humans. The prizes, awarded by science magazine Annals of Improbable Research, were announced at the 31st annual Ig Nobel Prize ceremony.

Duck recorded speaking to human

Scientists have recorded the first known instance of a duck that has learned to mimic human speech. The duck in in Australia – called Ripper – said: “You bloody fool.” Parrots, songbirds and hummingbirds were thought to be the only birds thought to be able to mimic human speech, though several mammals such as whales, dolphins, seals, bats and elephants can also imitate sounds. 

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