Becky Ferreira gushes, “In what may well be the cutest scientific study ever conducted, ecologists dressed a rover up as a baby penguin in order to infiltrate the notoriously shy bird’s ranks”:
The study, published Sunday in Nature Methods, argues that undercover robots are able to monitor and extract information about animals without causing them stress – which both is a bummer for the animals, and affects the validity of the science itself. “Investigating wild animals while minimizing human disturbance remains an important methodological challenge,” the authors, led by Yvon Le Maho of the University of Strasbourg, wrote in the paper. “Approaching wild animals to collect data on their phenotypic traits induces stress, escape behavior and, potentially, breeding failure and therefore jeopardizes the quality of the collected data.”
Answer: undercover robot penguin baby.