The researchers from the University of Southampton, Tasmania, Oxford and the Australian Antarctic Division have discovered ground breaking truth about Penguin population.
They found three genetically distinct groups of modern emperor penguins, which survived the ice age on the earth. Contradictory to the belief that penguins may thrive due to more ice, this group of researchers found that penguin populations decreased in the ice age and these three groups were divided into refugees across the earth. The penguin populations increased as the earth warmed up after the ice age.
Researchers analyzed the difference between the genes of modern and ancient penguins. During last 12,000 years as temperatures began to rise around 15 degrees Celsius, the penguin population began to improve from low numbers. The entire team was shocked due to these findings as they previously concluded that more amount of ocean ice would give more scope for growth of the penguin.
-22 degrees Fahrenheit is the most suitable temperature for penguins to grow. 26,500 to 19,000 years ago Earth’s glacial sheets were maximum and penguin populations were seven times lesser than today. The conditions were so extreme that even one of the cold adopting animals struggled to survive.
This study also states that global warming will result in an increase of penguin populations as they will get more area to hunt after melting of ice sheets in the Antarctic. As much as penguins need ice for breeding, they also need Open Ocean for food. The ice always blocks the access to sufficient food for penguins
The Ross Sea region of Antarctica still has inhabitants from one of the three penguin groups. The same sea may have been a safe place for the penguin population during the ice age.
According to the recommendations by researchers, the Ross Sea should be conserved for the emperor penguins as it was their refuge during one of the harshest climate, which almost wiped out the species.
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