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Toxic Compound Spotted on Venus Found in Penguin Dung, Media Says

© AP Photo / Keith SrakocicA Gentoo penguins in the snow at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium during a media availability in an outdoors area on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
A Gentoo penguins in the snow at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium during a media availability in an outdoors area on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic) - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.09.2021
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Dr. Dave Clements, of Imperial College, London reportedly said that scientists are convinced "the phosphine finding is real", but "don’t know what’s making it."
Gentoo penguins have recently become the focus of scientific scrutiny after traces of phosphine – a chemical substance that was apparently detected in the atmosphere of Venus last year – were discovered in penguin droppings, the Daily Star reports.
According to the newspaper, scientists now seek to study the lifestyle of the gentoo penguins in a bid to figure out how this compound gets produced by these birds.

"We’re convinced the phosphine finding is real. But we don’t know what’s making it," said Dr Dave Clements, of Imperial College, London. "There are some anaerobic bacteria that produce phosphine. It’s found in pond slime and the guts of badgers and penguin guano."

He also added that "it may be to do with defence or signalling against competing bacteria."
Venus  - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.04.2021
More Potential Signs of Life in Venus' Atmosphere Uncovered by Scientists
The newspaper also suggests that "UK scientists believe alien life forms may have already been detected, and studying penguins could help them identify the types of organisms that exist in other worlds."
Phosphine is a toxic gas compound that can be produced by anaerobic organisms. It has been proposed as a signature of life on other planets.
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