Ancestors of modern penguins were flying birds, however, 60 million years ago penguins could not fly. About why these animals have refused such seemingly valuable skill, as well as other such “strange” twists of evolution told the American biologist Daniel Ksepka from the Bruce Museum in Connecticut.
As the expert told, the penguins still have features inherited from the remote flying ancestors — the specific structure of the upper extremities and thorax, particular muscles of the wings, feathers and so on. However, according to scientists, to fly the ancestors of modern penguins stopped soon after became extinct, large dinosaurs. Ksepka said that the refusal of the penguins from the flight “a huge breakthrough in the course of their evolution.” Having lost the ability to fly, birds could increase in size. Their wings have become short, but tough and very well suited to row them. The muscles of birds have also increased. This has made the penguins a much more comfortable feel in the water — to dive deeper, spend more time under water, faster to swim and to hunt relatively large prey. Of this, the biologist concludes that the inability to fly gave penguins the ability to perfectly adapt to the conditions of their own habitat.
Interestingly, not all evolutionary changes of this kind are equally clear explanation, reports National Geographic. For example, scientists still do not fully understand why today no bird on Earth has no teeth, although in the past the dinosaurs from which the birds evolved teeth possessed. As one of the assumptions of the experts put forward the idea that the beak may simply weigh less than teeth, and for flight the weight issue is one of the key. Interestingly, as shown by some studies, the “metamorphosis” of the teeth in the bill is not demanded from birds significant changes at the genetic level, only slightly changing genes in embryos of chickens, the experts watched as those beginning to form teeth.
Among the other “victims”, which in the course of evolution were those or other organisms, scientists call blurred vision in creatures for centuries from generation to generation of living in constant darkness, as well as “waiver” from the clutches of the snakes, whom their ancestors had.