Penguins are amazing creatures that can leap out of the ocean with amazing speed and endure winter cold like no other. We may think of them like small, waddling birds, but these flightless animals used to be larger… much larger.
In this PBS Eons episode, paleontologist Kallie Moore dives into the biological history of penguins on the planet. How did these birds become excellent swimmers? Why can’t they fly anymore?
And what are the giant prehistoric penguins in the fossil record? Read more about kumimanu, anthropornis, and palaeeudyptes.
And don’t forget the Paleocene‘s waimanu manneringi, the oldest fossil ever found of a penguin. In the Māori language—waimanu was found in today’s New Zealand—wai means water and manu means bird. From the video:
“Waimanu lived just a few million years after the extinction that took out the non-avian dinosaurs and all the predatory marine reptiles that had ruled the oceans of the Mesozoic Era. So, in taking to the water, Waimanu managed something its non-avian dinosaur ancestors never had: it became fully aquatic.”
Watch more penguin videos on TKSST, including:
• Why can’t some birds fly?
• Emperor Penguins Speed Launch Out of the Water
• Emperor penguin chicks defend against a giant petrel
• The Best Bloopers from Penguins: Spy in the Huddle
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