Friday, July 9, 2010

FAQ: Do penguins have knees?

Looking at a penguin standing or waddling around on the island it may look like they have very short legs and no knees.



But yes, penguins do have knees!

A penguin’s leg is composed of a short femur, knee, tibia and fibula. The upper leg bones are not visible as they are covered in feathers giving penguins a very short legged appearance. Here you can compare the leg of a penguin skeleton to a model of a human skeleton.





Take at look at these x-rays of one of our penguins and you can see the leg bones, including the knee joint and how most of it is covered in the penguin’s body.


Head-on x-ray of penguin, the knees are in green rectangles


Side-view of penguin knees in yellow rectangle

So now you know!

- Andrea

53 comments:

  1. But do those knees work? I mean, can the bend or is the body in the way? do they serve a function?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. look in the second X-ray, the knees are bent at different angles

      Delete
    2. I believe the knees would be used a great deal for swimming.

      Delete
  2. Perhaps their ancestors lived in a warmer climate. They may have also been much thinner. So hypothetically if their ancestors were in a warmer climate and were thinner those legs could have been used for standing in shallow waters to hunt for food.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. People have found penguin fossils that showed that they where at least 6 feet tall

      Delete
    2. Maybe then they'd even be able to fly.....

      Delete
    3. ....I don't know if this is a joke or not....Hoping it's a joke...

      Delete
    4. I...I just....I give up on people. How can we not be talKING ABOUT THE FACT THAT THERE WERE 6 FOOT PENGUINS WITH LEGS AND KNEES?!?!?!!?

      Delete
    5. Wow!!! That is so cool. ������

      Delete
    6. They DO fly...underwater. Same movements, different substrate!

      Delete
  3. I used this to prove my brother wrong, thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. my brother used this to prove me wrong...

      Delete
  4. I am wondering how penguins get up from a prone position? If they fall down, for example, do they use their flippers to push themselves up?

    ReplyDelete
  5. how do penguins use there knees

    ReplyDelete
  6. My gypsy friend asked me this and I didn't have an answer. This was interesting! Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks for the x-rays and the standing skeleton. It appears that penguins' legs are more structurally similar to ours than any other avian. The bones are quite thin, but penguins have no need for the more robust femurs, tibias and fibulas; or hip, knee, and ankle joints as we. They make their living in the oceans, standing to enhance their vigil against predators while roosting (warming their eggs) on land. Also, going bipedal-upright allows them to "walk" up the slope of the beach with great dignity as they emerge from the surf. Go Penguins!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Now I can sleep, praise the LORD, THANKYOU

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. exactly why i'm here. Now we can all rest!

      Delete
  9. Awesome! Someone just posted that question on my facebook so I had to do a search. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  10. This was frequently asked?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Once someone brings up the subject of penguin knees you can't sleep unless you've found the answer!

      Delete
  11. I saw this question on the IOS app IFunny, so I just had to look it up.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thank you for answering this. And for the cute penguin pictures here.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Did anyone else get here from the wheezy waiter video?

    ReplyDelete
  14. they have to be able to bend so they can squat down and protect their eggs.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Yesss I can sleep noow halli lu yeur

    ReplyDelete
  16. LoL! + Does anyone know if pigeons have any knees at all ???, I obviously would not be able to sleep if I do not find out LoL!, btw thanks if you do manage finding the answer + Good Luck! You Might Need It. Also, may I say a really Big Thank You, to whoever found This Information.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, but because of the way the pigeon's legs are built they're up near and under the feathers. What lots of folks (including one answerer here) believe are the "knees" going "backwards" are actually the birds "heels". The easiest way to visualize it is to stand on your tiptoes. When you do that (which is what all birds do), then your heel is now pointed "backwards"; pretend that you knee is now up in your feathers nearer your torso and you have what a pigeon does. So, yes, they do have "knees".

      Delete
  17. Yes, pigeons do have knees

    ReplyDelete
  18. THANKS! Now the fourth voice in my head stops bugging me about it and wants to go to sleep too, like the other three. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I saw this on Facebook lol.

      Delete
  19. clearly this is a common concern among insomniacs everywhere... now I must sleep.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Where is everyone from? amazing how we all so concerned about this and we from different parts of the globe

    ReplyDelete
  21. i love me some penguins

    ReplyDelete
  22. my whole class has been asking me this for a month "do penguins have knees?" now I can say 4 sure they do

    ReplyDelete
  23. Making my day at uni so much better! Useless facts are always more interesting than the ones we need to know :D

    ReplyDelete
  24. My sister and i laughed over again and when someone talked about them we burst out laughing.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Well now I know i can finally sleep easy i have thought about this for some time but never googled it till now

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. same here, its weird what you think about when you are trying to relax and go to sleep.

      Delete
  26. PENGUIN KNEES ARE TERRIFYING

    ReplyDelete
  27. Two penguins are on an ice floe. One says to the other, "You look like you're wearing a tuxedo."

    To which the other replies, "Who's to say I'm not?"

    Kudos to "Prairie Companion" and Garrison K.

    ReplyDelete
  28. OMG I just love penguins so much I could eat them all up

    ReplyDelete