Feature

Flightless Feathered Friends

New tales of penguin evolution, past and present

By
10:31am, November 22, 2004

If a bird's success is measured by how well it flies, then penguins rank low. Their aerial excursions are limited to hopping from one rock to another or, at best, punctuating their high-speed swims with short, arcing leaps from the ocean's surface to take a quick breath of air. By other gauges, however, penguins are successful indeed. With their streamlined shape, waterproof plumage, and thick layers of insulating fat, penguins are tailor-made for the marine environment. As a group, they occupy prime positions in coastal ecosystems from Antarctica to the equator.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.

More from Science News