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Re: If Dinosaurs Could Fly

>What do downy penguin chicks do to survive the cold other than eat a
>lot, sit on cold rocks, and huddle under wet parents?
>-Betty Cunningham

      Basically nothing. First of all the parent penguins are not wet ( 
the parent fasts for 1-5 months and stays out of water.) I read a book 
once that stated that a baby penguin cannot go into water until it is a 
certain size and age ( small objects and downy feathers as single 
insulation are not good bedfellows.) Baby penguins of at least the 
emperor penguin type huddle into a flap of skin that is stratigically 
located in a "pile" of down feathers. Their parents stay out of the 
water the baby ( when it is time to good to another parent) makes a 
quick dash for it so it will not freeze, and that is what a baby penguin 
      Many people have emailed me on and off list stating that down is 
not maladaptive. I agree, but when it is wet conditions it is. A 
penguins' flippers are excellent for swimming, but when it comes for 
defence or anything else ( besides sliding on their bellies) they can be 
considered maladaptive in that >certain< respect. So in summary; down is 
good insulation in certain conditions and especially when covered by 
other feathers but as a single insulators in wet conditions it is not 
good at all.


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