Birds like murres helped researchers understand why penguins no longer fly (Live Science)Penguins are excellent swimmers. But even with wings, the aquatic flightless birds do not take to the skies despite having wing-like flippers.
In fact, a new study says that penguins became so good at swimming that they eventually evolved to specialize at that skill at the cost of airborne flight.
"Like many people, I've always been interested in penguins, and seeing them do these phenomenal marches across the ice, I've often thought: 'Why don't they just fly?' Professor John Speakman, from the University of Aberdeen and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, told the BBC." And it's really great to be involved in the group of people that have solved it."
The new study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, says that at least five species of penguin have adapted into flightless birds.
In particular, biomechanical models of energy costs during flying and diving suggest that a wing designed for optimal diving performance should lead to enormous energy costs when