Tuesday

Penguin Dissection

Warning, graphic biological images ahead!
This past week I had the opportunity to assist with the dissection of a Chinstrap Penguin (Pygoscelis antarcticus) to help some people out with their Ph.D work. The penguin was given to them after undergoing a necropsy by a zoo/aquarium vet. As such its internal organs had been removed therefore turning it into a study skin was not possible as the vet had done a number on its chest. This little critter died of old age and has since been put to good use in 4 Ph.D projects and one side project. Its eye, feathers, tongue and windpipe, and hind limbs are all being utilized as part of people's theses. 
The tendons of the foot; this is the back of the ankle.
The projections on the tongue and palate allow the bird to grasp its slippery prey.
These are some well insulated birds. In addition to having the most dense feathers of any bird group penguins also have a layer of fat to keep them warm.

Some facts about Chinstrap Penguins.  They, like all penguins, are found in the Southern Hemisphere. They are fantastic swimmers and catch krill, shrimp, and fish as food. There are an estimated 12-13 million Chinstraps, as such the IUCN lists them as Least Concern. In the wild they live to about 12 years and in captivity around 20. They are known to be an aggressive species. Penguin feathers have a different melanosome (pigment containing organelle) in them than those found in other bird groups.

No comments:

Post a Comment