Penguins are found in the southern hemisphere as a group of aquatic flightless birds. Over the years they have developed their bodies accordingly to survive in harsh temperature conditions. They are usually waddling on ice sheets in the South Pole. Penguins have knees like other birds or, do they have just ankles? Where are knees located according to their anatomy? Let’s read all about their types and features.
1. What are the Types of Penguins?
Penguins are large flightless birds with the upper body in black, and their underparts are white-colored. Depending upon some special features penguins can be broadly classified as
- Great Penguins,
- Crested penguins,
- Little penguins,
- Brush-tailed penguins,
- Yellow-eyed penguins, and
- Banded penguins.
There can be 19 different varieties of penguins among the above-mentioned categories. The only thing common is their cold habitat. Great penguins are among the largest birds on the earth and are found only in Antarctica. Other species of penguins are found on islands and oceans in different regions. Let’s read about their physical features in the next segments. (Also read 8 Types of Possums)
2. What is the Shape of the Penguin Body?
Penguins are among amazing swimmers, and their food comes from hunting inside the Antarctic Ocean. In order to cater to their swimming need, their body tapered from both sides. This helps them to maintain their upright body posture being streamlined.
- They have an elongated body, short neck & a large head.
- They have stiff, wedge-shaped, and short tails. (See Adorable Golden Possum that Looks like Pikachu)
3. How do they Walk and Swim?
- Their feet are webbed in shape and their claws are visibly clear and long.
- Their set back legs provide them a perfect streamlining and they are also hydrodynamic. Their legs provide them steering while they swim. It helps them to move fast, and also in hardly missing their prey underwater. (Also read Where does Sea Glass come from?)
- Penguins use their bills and tails while they climb on steep slopes or ice steps. Since they have short legs so they take short steps or, sometimes they even hop. However, Emperor Penguins and King Penguins are the rare types who don’t hop, they rather walk with small steps.
- Their body cavity covering their legs acts like a long shirt or t-shirt which does not stretch at the bottom while they walk. So they waddle while walking.
- Penguins often are seen sliding on their bellies, known as a toboggan and, to slide their bodies forward, penguins use their flippers and feet.
- The average speed of penguins varies from species to species, but, on average, it ranges between 1 mph to 2.5 mph.
Apart from their webbed feet, penguins have knees also. To know more continue reading till the end. (Also read Why Are Cats Tongue So Rough?)
4. What do you Know about Penguin Knees?
Like humans, penguins also have femur (thigh bone), fibula, tibia, tarsal, and, metatarsals. Their knees also have a patella, a knee cap just like humans and, their knees even fold in the same direction as ours which clearly states that penguins have knees. The joints above their feet, often are mistaken as their knees, but in reality, they are ankles. Their knees are tucked up inside their body because they have several layers of fat and it covers up almost 98 percent of their legs. (Also read Why Are Pink Dolphins Pink?)
5. What is the Anatomy of their Skeleton and Bones?
Their skeleton is just like other birds, including their skull, ribs, sternum, etc. They also have knees but, they are not visible because of their fur and fat. On comparing their skeleton to humans, it was noticed that the bones in their legs are quite similar.
- Birds having the flying ability have lighter and less dense bones but, penguins have a hard skeleton.
- In order to swim, their bones have developed and become a bit denser, harder, and, robust so that their skeleton keeps them safe while they swim and catch their prey.
There is a bone at the bottom of the legs of many reptiles and some birds, known as tarsometatarsus. It is also one of the hardest bones in penguins’ bodies. This bone forms from the fusion of tarsal and metatarsal bones. (Also read Interesting History of Dino Bones)
So now, you can say that, yes penguins have knees. You have read about the penguin knees, hidden and invisible in their long fur and fat coat are actually located above their ankle joints. (Also read 6 Stork Delivery Facts)