Saturday, January 10, 2009

Images of the Day--Pygoscelis

There are three species of penguin in the the genus, Pygoscelis (aka the Brush-Tailed Penguins):

P. antarctica

P. papua

P. adeliae

Mitochondrial and nuclear DNA evidence suggests the genus split from other penguins around 38 million years ago, about 2 million years after the ancestors of the genus Aptenodytes. In turn, the Adelie Penguins split off from the other members of the genus around 19 million years ago.*

There are also three extinct species:

1) Pygoscelis grandis (Bahía Inglesa Formation, Late Miocene/Early Pliocene of Bahía Inglesa, Chile)
2) Pygoscelis calderensis (Bahía Inglesa Formation, Late Miocene of Bahía Inglesa, Chile)
3) Tyree's Penguin, Pygoscelis tyreei (Pliocene of New Zealand)

* Baker AJ, Pereira SL, Haddrath OP, Edge KA (2006). "Multiple gene evidence for expansion of extant penguins out of Antarctica due to global cooling". Proc Biol Sci. 273 (1582): 11–17.

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