A research team from the University of Texas at Austin has discovered the fossilized remains of a giant penguin in Reserva Nacional de Paracas, Peru. The penguin, called Inkayacu paracasensis, stood approximately five feet tall and seems to have had gray and brown feathers rather than the black and white tuxedo coloring generally associated with penguins.
The shape of the giant penguin’s feathers is very similar to the shape of modern penguin feathers.
Feathers can be colored in two different ways. The first way is through pigments. The second way is through tiny structures within feathers that refract light like prisms. The team that discovered Inkayacu paracasensis found fossilized melanosomes and, after studying them, discovered that this giant penguin apparently had gray and brown feathers.
The shape of the giant penguin’s feathers is very similar to the shape of modern penguin feathers. PhysOrg.com notes, “Like living penguins and unlike all other birds, Inkayacu’s wing feathers were radically modified in shape, densely packed and stacked on top of each other, forming stiff, narrow flippers. Its body feathers had broad shafts that in living penguins aid streamlining the body.” After studying this similarity between the feathers of Inkayacu paracasensis and those of modern penguins, Julia Clarke, associate professor at the Jackson School of Geosciences, concluded that the unique shape of penguin feathers must have emerged early in penguin evolution.
A biblical worldview gives an easy answer as to why the Inkayacu paracasensis and modern penguins have similar feather shapes. Both types of penguin are descended from the original pair of penguins that emerged from the Ark after the Flood. It should be no surprise that both types of penguin share a similar feather design. The original penguin pair also had all the genetic material necessary to account for the large variation between the sizes of the giant penguin and the modern penguin as well as their different colorings.
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