A Yellow Penguin?

YVES ADAMS/KENNEDY NEWS

UNCOMMON COLOR: The feathers of this yellow penguin do not contain the pigment needed to produce the typical black coloring.

In 2019, photographer Yves Adams was leading a tour near South Georgia Island in the southern Atlantic Ocean when he spotted an unusual looking king penguin. This bird didn’t sport the species’ usual black feathers. Instead, its feathers were yellow!

The penguin’s pale coloring was most likely caused by a mutation, says Rosalyn Price-Waldman, a biologist at Princeton University in New Jersey. The mutation changed the penguin’s DNA—the molecule that carries hereditary information—and caused the bird to have little or no black coloring. “We’re lucky to have seen this yellow penguin,” says Price-Waldman. “It helps us appreciate how colorful and cool penguins are.”

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