UC Berkeley and Pontifical Catholic University of Chile researchers sequenced the genomes of all 18 recognized species of penguin to assemble a family tree, showing that the largest of the penguins – king and emperor – split off from all other penguins not long after penguins arose 22 million years ago in Australia and New Zealand. Other penguins diversified after Drake’s Passage opened, revving up the circumpolar current and allowing penguins to spread throughout the southern hemisphere.
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