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Evolution of the Emperor Penguin
Transcript of Evolution of the Emperor Penguin
Evolution of the Emperor Penguin by Alyssa Weick
period 6 The Emperor Penguin, or Aptenodytes forsteri, lives in the freezing waters and fast ice of Antarctica and is the only penguin to breed in the Antarctic during the winter. Soon after laying an egg, the females will give it to the males to incubate on their feet, who huddle in large groups to withstand the harsh weather (averaging -2°C and wind gusts 192 km/h). The males fast during this time and typically lose half their body weight. They are the largest penguin species, 36-44 inches tall and weighing 60-90 pounds. The Emperor Penguin, or Aptenodytes forsteri, lives in the freezing waters and fast ice of Antarctica and is the only penguin to breed in the Antarctic during the winter. Soon after laying an egg, the females will give it to the males to incubate on their feet, who huddle in large groups to withstand the harsh weather (averaging -2°C and wind gusts 192 km/h). The males fast during this time and typically lose half their body weight. They are the largest penguin species, 36-44 inches tall and weighing 60-90 pounds. Adaptations: any alteration in the structure or function of an organism or any of its parts that results from natural selection and by which the organism becomes better fitted to survive and multiply in its environment. Thermoregulation: the penguin’s metabolic rate increases linearly with increased temperature. Instead of a crazy high metabolic rate in the super-cold weather, penguins form tortues (huddles) to lessen heat flow and let every penguin maintain their temperature. Shifts from inside to outside of the tortues keep border penguins being exposed for too long. Their hemoglobin and myoglobin are able to bind and transport oxygen at low blood concentrations. Translated: the penguin is able to shut down non-essential organs and function with super low oxygen levels in order to dive longer. Unlike other bird species, a penguin's bones are thick rather than hollow to allow them to dive into water pressures up to 40 times the pressure of the surface. (That's also why penguins can't fly:) Waterproof plumage (highest feather density of all bird species) has downy filaments and provides 80-90% of their insulation. Genus Species Aptenodytes forsteri Family Spheniscidae Order Sphenisciformes Class Aves Phylum Chordata Kingdom Animalia Organisms with green arrows coming from them are producers, red arrows are first level consumers, blue arrows are second level consumers, and yellow lines are third level consumers. Since there isn't a lot of diversity in the Antarctic (compared to other ecosystems), many organisms feed significantly at two or three different levels. DNA evidence (Molecular Data) and fossil evidence (Morphology) disagree on where exactly the basal lineage is. If the molecular data proves to be correct, then the common ancestor was big -like 5 feet tall big- and the spheniscus' skull evolved into a more primitive configuration late in the penguin's evolutionary history. If the fossil evidence wins the debate, then it is very likely that the modern freezing-their-tails-off penguins have origins in the tropical South America. This conflicting evidence can only be solved with more evidence. Emperor Penguin Adelie Penguin Galapagos Penguin Macaroni Penguin Flippers Smaller size Hooked Beak Yellow feather crest C l a d o g r a m Actually, the data didn't disagree that much at all... Thanks to recent field studies for fossils from guys like Dan Ksepka, it's been discovered that ancient penguins indeed were huge (at least some of them anyway). Fossils 60-62 million years old even say that their wings weren't adapted to diving yet, as the elbow joint could still bend and was barely becoming stiff.As of 36 million years ago, they also were a reddish brown color, living in a temperate and foresty Antarctica. Ksepka It's theorized that South America and Australia's drifting away caused ocean currents to isolate Antarctica, cooling the climate significantly and forcing the native penguins to adapt. It's also a theory that this history in now happening again in reverse with global warming. A Better Cladogram Convergent Species Even though the now-extinct Great Auk lived way farther north than our classy little tuxedo guys, they were similar in that both birds were made for the water. Both specie's fins were useless in the air but great for swimming. http://museumvictoria.com.au/pages/12729/imagegallery/wild-emperorpenguin-large.jpg