College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences

Paleontologist Dr. Julia Clarke, along with her postdoctoral researcher Daniel Ksepka and Peruvian collaborators, has discovered two extinct penguin species that once reached the Earth’s equatorial regions. Even more surprising is that one of the species, Icadyptes salasi, which lived about 36 million years ago, stood five feet tall. The other, Perudyptes devriesi, lived about 42 million years ago and was about the same size as today’s King Penguin—two and a half to three feet tall. “This very early penguin must have arrived in equatorial regions during a warm period in Earth’s history prior to a major global cooling event in the latest Eocene,” says Clarke, an assistant professor in the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences. All other low-latitude penguin fossils date to long after that icehouse phase began and the Antarctic icecap formed. “These new fossils tell us a great deal about the evolution and biogeography of penguins 40 million years ago.”

College Awards 10-Year Comparison 1998-2007

 

Dr. Julia Clarke