Some scientists have figured out
A means of penguin-snooping;
A camera, beamed from outer space
Can see where they’ve been pooping.
The penguins stay on floes of ice,
For months in just one place
Which leaves a stain of shit so big
It’s visible from space.
The guano—smelly, reddish-brown,
Corrosive, salty goo—
Leaves such a stain, ten colonies
Were found when they were through.
Of course, the waste we humans leave
Is seen from space as well—
The lights by night, the smoke by day
(At least, in space, no smell)
I wonder, once we’ve run our course
And disappeared for good
Will, someday, trails of human waste
Be seen and understood?
Will future beings study us—
As findings will permit—
And learn how humans went extinct
By studying our shit?
In a follow-up to a story from 4 years ago, a colony of some 9,000 penguins was recently discovered in Antarctica.
Until last month, this group of 9,000 Emperor penguins had never seen a human being before. And no human knew about their existence either — until a satellite picked up images of their poop from space. That’s right. These penguins are so populous that their waste is visible from orbit. Though they were discovered in 2009, humans were not able to visit them in person until December 2012.
Of course, the waste from our own human colonies is also visible from space. As I wrote back in 2009, I wonder if some future species will ever learn about us this way. Seems only fitting.