Dr. Cassondra Williams, a postdoctoral researcher in the laboratory of professor Jim Hicks in the department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, has published data that sheds new light onto the complexity of the emperor penguins coat. Dr. Williams first became interested in the question when she and her colleagues read in popular media that penguins had the highest feather density among birds, but they couldn’t find an original source for that statement.
Utilizing a set of preserved emperor penguins, Dr. Williams and colleagues analyzed the number and types of feathers on the birds. They found that the feather density varied slightly from penguin to penguin and that penguins have several types of feathers.
Dr. William’s findings may cause scientists to modify their understanding of how penguin bodies work and how they move.
There manuscript can be found online in the October edition of The Proceedings of the Royal Society b.