-- from Mark E - (?)
Also see: Birds
Penguins (order Sphenisciformes, family Spheniscidae) are a group of aquatic, flightless birds living almost exclusively in the Southern Hemisphere.
The number of penguin species has been and still is a matter of debate. Depending on which authority is followed, biodiversity varies between 17 and 20 living species, all in the subfamily Spheniscinae. Some sources consider the White-flippered Penguin a separate Eudyptula species, while others treat it as a subspecies of the Little Penguin (e.g. Williams, 1995; Davis & Renner, 2003); the actual situation seems to be more complicated (Banks et al. 2002). Similarly, it is still unclear whether the Royal Penguin is merely a color morph of the Macaroni penguin. Also possibly eligible to be treated as a separate species is the Northern population of Rockhopper penguins (Davis & Renner, 2003). Although all penguin species are native to the southern hemisphere, they are not, contrary to popular belief, found only in cold climates, such as Antarctica. In fact, only a few species of penguin actually live so far south. Three[verification needed] species live in the temperate zone; one lives as far north as the Galápagos Islands (the Galápagos Penguin).
The largest living species is the Emperor Penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri): adults average about 1.1 m (3 ft 7 in) tall and weigh 35 kg (75 lb) or more. The smallest penguin species is the Little Blue Penguin (also known as the Fairy Penguin or the Blue Penguin), which stands around 40 cm tall (16 in) and weighs 1 kg (2.2 lb). Generally larger penguins retain heat better, and thus inhabit colder regions, while smaller penguins are found in temperate or even tropical climates (see also Bergmann's Rule). Some prehistoric species attained enormous sizes, becoming as high or as heavy as an adult human; see below for more.
Most penguins feed on krill, fish, squid, and other forms of sealife caught while swimming underwater. They spend half of their life on land and half in the oceans.
Penguins seem to have no fear of humans and have approached groups of explorers without hesitation. This is probably on account of there being no land predators in Antarctica or the nearby offshore islands that prey on or attack penguins. Instead, penguins are at risk at sea from predators such as the leopard seal.
A new study by MIT released in January of 2007, found that 80% of penguins were left handed. The findings concluded that penguins use their dominant flipper for everything from building nests to moving other penguins out of the way...more
Originally posted at 11:22AM, 6 January 2007 PDT
worldwidewandering edited this topic 71 months ago.