Penguins are very interesting birds, and the have a long history behind them that is more than 60 million years old. They are believed to be decedents of early birds that roamed the Earth. Over the course of time they adapted to their new environment and spent more time in the water than on land. The theories about penguin evolution are the result of careful research. The remains that have been located tell us quite a story of what took place then that shaped penguins that we see today.
It is believed that the penguins are derived from a type of bird that is able to fly. Yet they needed to be able to adapt to the waters if they were going to be able to survive. As a result their wings changed over time to what we call flippers. They were no longer able to fly but they didn’t need to. Instead they were able to feed from the water and they were also able to walk upright on land.
It is through such changes that they were able to adapt to the environment that they were in. Some were in very cold regions while others were where it was warmer. Regardless, the penguin species were able to take their environment and use it to their own benefit. This was necessary for them to survive. It is believed that the layers of fat that many species of penguins have is due to evolution. They may have been forced to remain in locations where there was cold and ice. In the past such birds may have migrated to warmer areas during such times of the year. However, with changes to their environment they may have felt the need to stay where they were. Being able to survive such cold would only be possible with additional layers of insulation.
It is believed that the evolution of being flightless occurred very slowly. As their bodies needed the flippers to be able to swim well, the joints formed differently and fused the wrist to the elbow. While this formation does help in the water, it isn’t one that will allow a penguin to fly. It is believed that such evolution though is definitely a huge part of what allowed these types of birds to survive instead of to become extinct.
Some feel that the changes have been so dramatic that penguins shouldn’t be classified as birds. The fact that they can’t fly isn’t enough for them to be given their own category or moved into another one. Not everyone is convinced of the information out there relating to penguin evolution. Yet the science that is behind plenty of it is quite credible.
There is still plenty more to be learned about penguin evolution. Scientists continue to search for answers and to find new clues. This way they can offer information that is very credible. DNA testing from early bird remains is a very strong indicator that this scenario of penguin evolution is exactly what took place. Such evidence also indicates that there once were at least 40 more species of penguins. Yet they weren’t able to survive due to their environment or a lack of evolution on their part.
There are plenty of scientific articles and even books that detail what has been learned in regards to penguin evolution. That topic is one that is very interesting so make sure you explore such materials if you are interested in learning more. There are plenty of these resources online, in bookstores, and even at your local library.