Penguin Brain Evolution Lags Behind Loss of Flight

March 25, 2016

Until about 60 million years ago, penguins soared above the ocean. When they lost the ability to fly, their brains took a while to catch up.

UT geological sciences graduate student James Proffitt compared 3-D models of the inside of the earliest-known flightless penguin skull fossil to the brain shapes of modern penguins. This fossil is about 60 million years old — this penguin was probably alive soon after all penguins stopped flying.

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