Sea Change: People have affected what penguins eat | Science News


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Sea Change: People have affected what penguins eat

11:05am, July 11, 2007

The eating habits of Adélie penguins in Antarctica changed significantly about 200 years ago, according to chemical analyses of the birds' eggshells. Scientists attribute the shift in diet to whaling and other hunting in the region.

The ratios of carbon and nitrogen isotopes in an animal's tissues—including bones and eggshells—can provide a wealth of information about its eating habits, says Steven D. Emslie, a paleontologist at the University of North Carolina in Wilmington. Recently, he and William P. Patterson, a geochemist at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, looked at the chemical composition of Adélie penguin eggshells laid during the past 38,00

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