Photo: Gao et al
Scientists University of science and technology of China have discovered hundreds of mummified carcasses of Adelie penguins (Pygoscelis adeliae), who died 750 years ago. The reason of mass death of birds the researchers call a weather anomaly, with a very high probability of recurrence of such events in the future. This publication reports Science Alert.
Animal mummies with well-preserved skin, feathers and skeleton was found in 2016 in the Antarctic Peninsula, one square meter which had 10-15 carcasses. Most of the dead birds were juveniles, as young penguins are most vulnerable to heavy rains and snow due to the lack of waterproof plumage. As a result, they develop deadly hypothermia.
A similar case occurred in 2013-2014 and 2016-2017, when almost all the Chicks are born during the breeding season and tens of thousands of penguins were killed during the prolonged rainfall on the Island Petrel. Pygoscelis adeliae not yet under the threat of extinction, because at the moment there are 250 colonies of birds, as well as supercolony of the 1.5 million penguins. However, scientists believe that in the future the situation may worsen because of climate change and increased frequency of extreme weather events.
Video, photo All from Russia.