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Old 10-01-2004, 09:28 AM   #1
Undertoad
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10/1/2004: Newly-hatched penguin



Born without its tuxedo, a newly hatched king penguin is nursed by zookeeper Mette Larsen of Denmark's Odense Zoo. The baby was placed in an incubator borrowed from the maternity ward of the local university hospital.
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Old 10-01-2004, 10:36 AM   #2
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that sure looks like it came from the Aliens movie to me....

thought most baby animals were cute so their parents won't kill them...
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Old 10-01-2004, 10:41 AM   #3
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That is NOT what I expected a baby penguin to look like! He really does have an "alien" look to him. Oh well, they sure are cute when they grow up--hopefully it won't take this little guy long to grow out of the funny-looking stage....
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Old 10-01-2004, 11:49 AM   #4
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Wow that thing's ugly as sin, but just think of the smooth, smart, sharp tuxedo he'll grow into! Just give him some time.
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Old 10-01-2004, 02:44 PM   #5
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Jurassic Park?
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Old 10-01-2004, 04:46 PM   #6
capnhowdy
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Damn. Now that IS ugly! A few facts about these creatures: Prehistoric penguins stood 6 feet tall & weighed about 200 lbs. They could fly as well as any other sea bird. Now they swim at speeds in excess of 25 mph. They can leap up to 6 feet out of the water onto shore. They bite savagely when threatened. A near opposite of humans in this respect: In the Emporer genera ( Aptenodytes forsteri ), The female lays ome egg, then leaves to feed. The male incubates the egg by himself at temperatures as cold as -40 degrees F. By the time the egg has hatched he has lost a third of his body weight. Only after the chick is hatched & stable does the female return. Then Papa Penguin can rest and eat. That's all I got to say about that.......
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Old 10-01-2004, 06:10 PM   #7
mmmmbacon
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I find it almost impossible to believe that a bird 6 ft tall, weighing 200 lbs, would be able to get airborne, much less 'fly as well as any sea bird'. Do you have a reference to back that up?
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Old 10-01-2004, 09:37 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmmmbacon
I find it almost impossible to believe that a bird 6 ft tall, weighing 200 lbs, would be able to get airborne, much less 'fly as well as any sea bird'. Do you have a reference to back that up?
Sure do. Excerpted from Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia Copyright(c) 1994, 1995 Compton's Newmedia, Inc. My other cpu has this program living in it. It's a fountain of "useless information". Bear in mind: there were other airborne dinos much larger. Hard to imagine.........the key word here is prehistoric.
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Old 10-02-2004, 02:08 AM   #9
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I have to say that despite you providing an official-enough source, I still can't believe it. Look at the physics of it. You know how much power is required to lift a 200 pound body? Considering most of that power would be supplied by the air, it would need enormous wings (with enormous muscles and bones to hold them), and a high enough airspeed to prevent 'stalling' (i.e., falling) - pilots know what I'm talking about.

An albatross weighs only 25 lbs (yeah, only), and it constantly cruises on the wing. I wasn't able to discover how fast they go when they're cruising. One clue however is that (according to
this encyclopedia ) "In the days of sail it often accompanied a ship for days, not merely following it, but wheeling in wide circles around it..." If it needed to maintain a high airspeed, it would have to wheel around in wide circles if it wanted to follow the ship for whatever reason.

A 25lb albatross is about 4 ft long, with a wingspan of 11.5 ft (ibid). To scale a hypothetical bird to be as heavy as 200 lbs, the body length would double to 8ft (close enough to 6ft tall), but the wingspan would also double to 23 ft long. Even if we're overshooting that a lot, you'd think they would mention in the encyclopedia article that a flying penguin that large had an enormous wingspan of, say, almost 20 ft long. You'd think those would be the easy bones to find, right? Is it me - am I the only one who hasn't heard about pre-historic penguins with the massive wings?

Also, you know the saying, "the bigger they are, the harder they fall"? It's hard to imagine how a 200lb bird could land without hurting itself due to the high airspeed the bird would *have* to achieve, even while landing. The article above describes albatross landings as "semi-controlled crashes"... and they're only 25 pounds. Finally, there's a reason turkeys and ostriches and large penguins don't fly. It's because flight doesn't scale well.

Anyway, here's a test: does the encyclopedia article mention the massive wings on these prehistoric penguins? If it doesn't, I gotta call bullshit on either you or the encyclopedia.
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Old 10-02-2004, 03:54 AM   #10
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Finally, there's a reason turkeys and ostriches and large penguins don't fly.

Uh, turkeys do fly, albeit not the most graceful of flying birds but they do in fact fly.
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Old 10-02-2004, 11:13 AM   #11
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Is there anything in that Encyc. that says whether or not the bones of the prehistoric penguin were hollow or not? Or what kind of area they may have lived in?

I know today's penguins have solid bones, but if they figured the thing flew, then its bones would have been either really slender or hollow and full of air pockets, like terrestrial birds' bones. If it did have slender or hollow bones, then most of that 200lbs would have been muscle and with that much muscle, most of it likely in the torso and chest, flight may have been possible. Maybe it couldn't lift off like a sparrow can, but had to take a running start like an albatross or prefered to dive off a cliff like other birds that tend to live near cliffs. With that kind of body, I don't see why it couldn't fly in a controlled glide like a seagull using seawind and thermals to keep aloft.

As far as wingspan goes, how does it compare to the wingspan of a typical hangglider to keep a solidboned 150-200 pound human plus equipment aloft and in control?

If the prehistoric penguins did live around cliffs, then landings would have been pretty easy. Ever see a bird curve in an upward motion during flight to light on the edge of a roof or tree branch. A bird that size could use the lift that comes from an ocean breeze to light perfectly on the edge of a cliff without needing a runway and just waddle off to wherever it needed to be. Of course, this assumes they lived in the similar areas as they do now and had cliffs to use.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mmmmbacon
Also, you know the saying, "the bigger they are, the harder they fall"? It's hard to imagine how a 200lb bird could land without hurting itself due to the high airspeed the bird would *have* to achieve, even while landing. The article above describes albatross landings as "semi-controlled crashes"... and they're only 25 pounds. Finally, there's a reason turkeys and ostriches and large penguins don't fly. It's because flight doesn't scale well.
I'd figure if a critter evolved into the role, then it would be well suited to so controlled crash-landings that much weight, maybe extra skin and fat padding on the belly and chest for cushioning, stronger legs perhaps, better control over its wings than we're giving it credit for...who knows.

Here's a link with more details about prehistoric penguins. This site says up to 300 pounds. It doesn't really appear to touch on whether or not they might have flown. I did find a couple of pages that said that the penguins of old lost their ability to fly around 100 million years ago when climates changed but neither site looked 'official'. I could still post them for the curious.
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Old 10-02-2004, 02:16 PM   #12
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I didn't find any info about bone density. I do know that they evolved in the Eocene era. They also are not confined to icy regions, but they all live near water. You can find them now in areas near the equator and on the Gallapogas Islands.(spelling?) I wish I knew more about aerodynamics. Kinda like a mix between science and nature. I've seen lots of things fly that made me wonder- "how'd they do that?" Ex: box kites & bumblebees. Maybe I shouldn't have posted that but I think the penguin dilemma is near exhaustion......................
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Old 10-02-2004, 08:28 PM   #13
xoxoxoBruce
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The experts are telling us that dinosaurs evolved into Robins. Why couldn't a flying prehistoric critter evolve into penguins.?
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Old 10-02-2004, 10:15 PM   #14
Cane
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Assuming evolution is still in progress, the penguins are learning to swim faster and jump farther all the time. Do they pass penguin lore down from generation to generation via a surprisingly comprehensive means of communication, such as a complex combination of belches and tap dancing, about grandpaw Opus who flew too close to the sun and got his wings melted?
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Old 10-02-2004, 10:25 PM   #15
lumberjim
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that's nothing compared to the prehistoric snowman. Over 30 feet tall, and it's hat was magic. Your little penguin doesn't seem so impressive now, does it?

don;t make me break out the Triassic Octopi.
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