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Research Topic: Penguins
Many people think of penguins as those little birds that look like there in tuxedos in Antarctica, but they’re a lot more complicated then that. They are a very amazing type of animal. Penguins have lots of interesting things about them, like the big wonder of why penguins can’t fly, penguins habitats, and just the basic what are they like?
Penguins habitats are very interesting, and perfect for their kind. Penguins live in normally cold temperatures, most live in the cold ice of Antarctica, but some live in the Southern parts of New Zealand. They enjoy bathing in cold water, and being in very icy places so they can slide on there bellies.
It always seems like penguins are so safe in there little bubble in Antarctica, but is that really true? Penguins are actually very endangered animals. Penguins used to get hunted because each penguin has a little bit of oil inside of them, but that was outlawed. Penguins defense is very unique. In the water if a predator is attacking them, then they dive as deep as they can get into the water, and swim at full speed towards the shore to other penguins. If a land animal is hunting them they normally slide on their bellies (tobbogan) to get away at full speed. Some of the penguins predators are Leopard Seals, Orcas, and some sharks such as Tiger Sharks. A very unique predator is the Skua, which swoops down and takes the baby penguins. Surprisingly though, the penguins most hated predator is humans.
Why can’t penguins fly? A lot of people may ask this question, but there is a very reasonable answer to it. 65 Million years ago the ancestors of penguins were able to fly, they would fly over the ocean and dive into the water. Over time there bones grew more solid so they could no longer lift there weight in the sky. So, at the beginning of times penguins actually could fly.
Penguins are actually very social animals. They work together in most things they do. Penguins travel together, eat together, breed together, they are very social animals. They stay in groups so they can defend against predators easier. The older penguins normal breed in the place they were born to breed. And they learn things from each other like the locations of food. And living in groups provides better protection for the young penguins. When penguins dive into the water they try to push each other in until one finally goes in to make sure its safe.
As you can see, penguins are very interesting animals. They are so different then most animals that we know of, there habitat, there predators, how social they are, and of course penguins’ issue with flying. A lot of little kids say that penguins are there favorite animals, but do they really know about penguins?
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Research Paper on Penguins
Penguins are an old type of bird, having traces back to 45 million years ago. Penguins are said to be evolved from ostriches. Penguins, like all other birds are warm-blooded. The southern hemisphere is the only place you will find penguins. This is thought to be because of the way the islands' coasts are structured. The rocky coasts found commonly in the northern hemisphere are dangerous to the penguins, because of their loss of cover. Contrary to belief, penguins live in more places than just cold regions. In fact, penguins have been seen to live as high north as Ecuador. Penguins feed under water, killing small fish for food. Penguins have a unique coloration that makes them popular. People compare this to that of a tuxedo. There is a reason behind this feature. When you look down into the water, it looks dark. That is why the penguin's back is black. It blends in with the darkness of the deep water. When you look up from below the water, it looks bright. The penguin's white front blends in with the brightness of the surface of the water.__________________________________________________________
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The largest and smallest species of penguin are the emperor and fairy; respectively. The emperor is the most populous species on the planet. The taxonomy of the penguin are as follows: kingdom, Animalia; phylum, Chordata; class, Aves; subclass, Impennes; order, Sphenisciformes; family, Spheniscidae. The major species of penguin are the Aptenodytes, Pygoscelis, Eudyptotes, Spheniscus, Eudyptula, and Megadyptes. One unique type is the crested penguins. These penguins have riffs of feathers around their head. The different species of crested penguins are easily identified by the coloration of these crests.
Penguins' bodies are adapted to their environment very well. This is why they have been around for so long. Penguins must take in lots of food to complete their metabolic activities needed to stay warm. This has caused them to need a large stomach. For this they lose their ability to fly, but gain the ability to withstand the long periods of cold. Penguins' feathers develop special oils that keep water away from the penguin. If it weren't for this they would catch hypothermia very quickly. After time, these feathers will lose their oil and become damaged. Unlike hair, feathers grow once and never grow again. To repair their feathers they must go through a process called molting. While molting, all the penguin's feathers fall off, and it grows new feathers. During this period, the penguin has little protection from water, so the penguin must stay on land. This is because the new feathers haven't developed their oil yet. The whole molting process usually takes three weeks. Before the penguin molts, it must take in large quantities of food, like the mammals do when they hibernate. The legs of a penguin are very small. They are covered in feathers, and hard to see. Penguins waddle on these small legs, not because the legs are small, but because it saves energy. Instead of having to move all the leg muscles, the penguin just needs to move a few. The penguin must keep all energy it can, because it gets its heat from energy. Blood travels to these legs in a special way. The blood is actually heated up when it is sent to the legs. This is to keep the legs very warm to keep from freezing to the ice. Penguins have developed a special eye. This eye has very strong light focus in front of the penguin and has very keen sense to blues. Reds and yellows are filtered out, because they are what causes the blur we humans see when we see under water. The penguins also have a disadvantage: their field of view. Their eyes' sight only overlaps at a small portion above the beak.Without both eyes overlapping, it is hard to tell how far something is. However, their overlapping sight is very good below them. Because of this, a penguin will swim above its prey, then it'll dive at it. If it just dived at it normally, it wouldn't know how far to dive.
Predators of the penguin are divided into two categories. Land and water killers. The land killers are the giant petrel, predatory gulls, sheathbills, and some sea gulls will feed on penguin eggs. In some areas, even dingos, rats, cats, and dogs are the predators of the penguin. The water killers are leopard seals, fur seals, whales, and sharks. The whales and sharks only attack penguins of the tropical or sub-tropical environment. Penguins from New Zealand, South Africa, and Australia are most threatened by sharks. Penguins in the Antartica are most threatened by seals.
Penguins are said to be probably first seen by the Portuguese explorer Bartholomeu Diaz, although no proof has been discovered of him actually seeing the penguin. The first recorded discovery was by Alvero Vello. He sailed with Vasco de Gama in 1497, around the Cape of Good Hope. He wrote in his journal about penguins, for which he called otilicarios. He wrote "They're as big as ducks, but cannot fly because they have no feathers on their wings. These birds, of which we slaughtered as many as we could, cried like donkeys...". Of course, he failed to realize that penguins do have feathers on their wings, so the reason they can't fly is not because of this.
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