Palaeontologists have found fossils of two previously unknown species of penguin on the southern coast of Peru, according to reports in Eureka Alert and Discovery News 25 June 2007, and ABC (Australia) News, 26 June 2007. One of the penguins, named ” Icadyptes salasi was a giant compared with today’s penguins. It stood about 5 feet tall and had an enormous long spear-like beak. It is believed to be 36 million years old. The other fossil is a similar size to living King Penguins and is believed to be 42 million years old.

The scientists who studied the fossils claim they challenge the belief that penguins evolved in cold regions near Antarctica and some moved northward after a time of global cooling. They also challenge the theory that animals become smaller if they move to warmer climates because they don’t need to conserve heat. Julia Clarke of North Carolina State University, who led the study, commented: “We tend to think of penguins as being cold-adapted species, even the small penguins in equatorial regions today, but the new fossils date back to one of the warmest periods in the last 65 million years of Earth’s history. The evidence indicates that penguins reached low latitude regions more than 30 million years prior to our previous estimates.”

Editorial Comment: These fossils are good evidence for the Biblical history of both penguins and climate. The fact that the new fossils are recognisable as penguins fits with the Genesis narrative of animals and birds being made fully formed according to their kinds. It also reinforces the early chapters of Genesis which describe the original planet as a “very good” world that was warm enough for people to live without protective clothing and thrive on a diet of plants. This means there would not have been vast tracts of ice and snow, such as the present Antarctic regions where penguins huddle against icy wind, and nothing else survives. Ice and snow are not mentioned in the Bible until the time of Job, who lived several centuries after Noah’s flood, after which the climate changed from uniformly mild to one of extremes of heat and cold.

Sceptics have asked us where penguins lived if the world was uniformly warm. This is no problem, as some penguins live near the equator today. These new fossils reinforce the belief that penguins can live in warm climates, given the opportunity, but now they live in freezing conditions because some of them can cope and very few other living things can. The fact that the giant forms are now extinct indicates that there used to be more kinds of penguins than there are now, indicating that the world has gone downhill since the beginning rather than evolving more variety and complexity. (Ref. birds, survival, ornithology)

Evidence News 11th July 2007