A recent study on a penguin-like seabird, the thick-billed murre, shows that it's inefficient to be both; be a Jack of all trade and a master of none.
|This is probably how penguins flew several million years ago. Image: www.polartrec.com|
The study, conducted by Kyle Elliot et al of the University of Manitoba, Canada, shows that when flying, murres burn energy at 31 times their rate at rest. It's the highest energy-spending rate known for bird. Other animals burn energy at 25 times their rate at rest when working the hardest. In the water, a murre also burn more energy diving compared to a penguin of the same size.
|A group of diving murres. Image: travel.nationalgeographic.com|
So in a way, a murre is the bridge between the flying and non-flying birds, though they're not especially good at both. Evolution is truly fascinating is it not?