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.
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.
- Get Answers: Created Kinds (Baraminology)
- “The Wonder of Bird Feathers,” Earthlife Web, http://www.earthlife.net/birds/feathers.html.
- GrrlScientist, “Fossil Feather Colors Really ARE Written in Stone,” ScienceBlogs.com, February 5, 2010, http://scienceblogs.com/grrlscientist/2010/02/05/fossil-feather-colors-are-writ/.
- Jakob Vinther, Derek E. G. Briggs, Richard O Prum, Vinodkumar Saranathan, “The Colour of Fossil Feathers,” Biology Letters, October 23, 2008, doi:10.1098/rsbl.2008.0302.
For More Information: Get Answers
Remember, if you see a news story that might merit some attention, let us know about it! (Note: if the story originates from the Associated Press, FOX News, MSNBC, the New York Times, or another major national media outlet, we will most likely have already heard about it.) And thanks to all of our readers who have submitted great news tips to us. If you didn’t catch all the latest News to Know, why not take a look to see what you’ve missed?