Of Penguins and "Climate Change"
It seems that fossils of giant penguins with long, spear-like bills (now there's a scary thought) have been found in Peru, disproving scientists' formerly held belief that prehistoric penguins lived only in colder climes. According to an article in the Los Angeles Times:
For some reason, these scientists are under the impression that the climate changes over time and penguins, among other creatures, adapt. I guess they haven't heard about "climate change," the catastrophic process that, according to Al Gore and Co., is going to take us all down any minute now. Apparently, the penguins will be the last ones standing.
"These discoveries tell us about the more complex relationship between penguin evolution and climate change," said study coauthor Sara Bertelli, a paleontologist at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles.
The fossil penguins lived 30 million to 40 million years ago, just as the planet was beginning a cooling phase. The climate near the equator stayed warm the longest, with the temperature in Peru hovering around 79 degrees.
One factor that may have allowed temperature-sensitive penguins to migrate toward warmer climates was the separation of Antarctica from other continents about 40 million years ago. New ocean currents developed, bringing cold, nutrient-rich water northward. Modern warm-weather penguins, such as the Galapagos penguin, still rely on these cold currents for their survival.