The genus Pygoscelis ("rump-legged") contains three living species of penguins collectively known as "The Brush-Tailed Penguins". Their appearance - black above, white below - is the stereotypical image of penguins, and so what most people think of when they think of penguins.
Mitochondrial and nuclear DNA evidence suggests the genus split from other penguins around 38 million years ago, about 2 million years after the ancestors of the genus Aptenodytes. In turn, the Adelie Penguins split off from the other members of the genus around 19 million years ago.
The three extant species are:
- Adélie Penguin, Pygoscelis adeliae
- Chinstrap Penguin, Pygoscelis antarctica
- Gentoo Penguin, Pygoscelis papua
- Pygoscelis grandis (Bahía Inglesa Formation, Late Miocene/Early Pliocene of Bahía Inglesa, Chile)
- Pygoscelis calderensis (Bahía Inglesa Formation, Late Miocene of Bahía Inglesa, Chile)
- Pygoscelis tyreei (Pliocene of New Zealand)
The latter two are tentatively assigned to this genus.
Photographs of adult penguins of the extant (living) species:
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