PAPER - 1 A REVIEW OF THE CHARACTERISTIC CRYPTIC COLORATION...

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A REVIEW OF THE CHARACTERISTIC CRYPTIC COLORATION OF PENGUINS N OOR B ECKWITH FRSEMR 21q: Biological Impostors Professor: Michael Canfield February 2008 Walking through Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology one day, I came upon a case of organisms not unfamiliar to me, but which I had before only ever briefly considered: the maritime and littoral birds. As I scanned the skins for charismatic characteristics, I quickly observed a pattern. Where many of the other birds I had seen that day displayed brilliantly colored plumages, these species invariably displayed feathers of mainly black and white. The tuxedoed penguins in particular caught my attention, and, suspecting crypsis, I’ve chosen to investigate this group further. Penguins (order Spenisciformes) are gregarious flightless birds evolved to live in frigid waters and on frigid lands (Burnie 2001). Their adaptations include a fatty torso and wings modified into flippers, but the most immediately recognizable characteristic of a penguin is its coloration. Being so conspicuous, and epitomizing a coloration pattern that is widespread, evolutionary biologists have considered its origin and function over a hundred years ago. Abbott
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PAPER - 1 A REVIEW OF THE CHARACTERISTIC CRYPTIC COLORATION...

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