It turns out that the swaying gait isn't as silly as it looks
Charlie Chaplin mimicked the waddling of penguins to get laughs. But it turns out that the swaying gait isn't as silly as it looks. In recent laboratory experiments on emperor penguins, scientists found that the pendulumlike motion of waddling actually helps the birds to conserve energy as they move. Penguins still burn twice as many calories as similar-sized animals to travel the same distance, but it's likely because of their short legs, not because of their comic sway.