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Penguins originated in Australia and New Zealand, not Antarctica, study finds

Penguins did not originate in Antarctica, as scientists have believed for years, according to a...
Penguins did not originate in Antarctica, as scientists have believed for years, according to a new study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley.(Source: CNN)
Published: Aug. 18, 2020 at 2:38 PM EDT
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(CNN) – When people think of penguins, they probably think of black and white birds waddling through snow and swimming in icy water.

But penguins didn’t originate in Antarctica, as scientists have believed for years, according to a new study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley.

The study instead shows penguins first evolved in Australia and New Zealand 22 million years ago.

Researchers suggest ancestors of the king and emperor penguins split off and moved to Antarctic waters, likely attracted by the abundant food supply there.

The study also looked at the modern penguin population amid climate change.

It revealed that a penguin’s ability to live in both freezing cold temperatures and tropical waters evolved over millions of years.

At the rate oceans are warming, researchers believe penguins will not be able to adapt fast enough to keep up with the changing climate.

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