The Evolutionary Biology of Penguins  

Posted by Wayne Bretski

I think this article should have used a more restrained title, such as the one modeled here. The TOP 5 ... YOU MUST KNOW NOW!!! link-baiting technique is bizarre in an article published in Scientific American that includes over a dozen references and introductory clauses like "Much of my research" and other phrases unlikely to make your typical listmania.

But there was some interesting information in this fairly brief, cogent-yet-learned piece about current evolutionary biological research on penguins. For instance:

[T]he most ancient penguin fossils are amongst the oldest fossils discovered from any group of living birds. Waimanu ("Water Bird" in Maori) is the earliest known fossil penguin taxon...Pachydyptes was a true giant, but it is hard to reconstruct how big the species actually was because we only have a few pieces of the skeleton...we are also discovering that extinct penguin species had different body plans. Some were short and stout, while others were tall and slender.
Read it here at the Scientific American website.


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