As an alternative to freezing solid:
“A penguin huddle looks like organized chaos,” said François Blanchette, a mathematician at the University of California, Merced. “Every penguin acts individually, but the end result is an equitable heat distribution for the whole community.”
It turns out that penguins execute their huddles with a high degree of mathematical efficiency, as Blanchette and his team discovered. More recently, Daniel Zitterbart, a physicist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, helped develop and install high-resolution cameras to observe undisturbed huddling behavior. Zitterbart’s team recently discovered which conditions cause penguins to huddle, and they are investigating the possibility that the penguins’ mathematical behavior may reveal secrets about colony health over time…
Penguins seem to know what mathematicians learned long ago: The densest packing of shapes on a plane is a hexagonal grid. According to Blanchette’s model, the birds arrange themselves as if they were each standing on their own hexagon in a grid.Susan d’Agostino, “Math of the Penguins” at Quanta
It seems more likely that the math underlying the universe plays a role in this than that somehow, hundreds of destroyed penguin species later, a single group of penguins randomly hit on the right answer.