A paleontologist from San Marcos University (UNMSM)
seeks to find out how penguins swam 36 million years ago in the Eocene, and if seabirds from 58 to 3 million years ago —from the Paleocene to the Pliocene— used to fly as they do now.
Ivan Meza, from the Vertebrate Paleontology Department at UNMSM's Museum of Natural History, has published the first articles on biophysics applied to fossils in Peru in the Spanish Journal of Paleontology
The first article explores the way the giant penguin Inkayacu paracasensis swam. Its exceptional fossil remains —found in Paracas— date back 36 million years (late Eocene), and it is estimated to have been 1.5 meters high. In addition, the preserved pigmentation of its feathers stands out.
The second examines the flight capacity of the giant seabird Pelagornis. These successful birds populated the coasts from late Paleocene (58-55 Ma) to Pliocene (5-2 Ma) throughout almost the entire planet, including the coasts of the South Pacific: Peru and Chile.
They were characterized by their large wingspan (up to 7 meters), extensive pneumatization of bones, bony projections similar to teeth in the maxilla and mandible, as well as their great gliding capacity.
Both articles present a modeling with formulas for fluid mechanics and —in the case of the Pelagornis— with allometric formulas for physics based on the gray-headed albatross.