A rare taxidermy of a great auk (Pinguinus impennis) in winter plumage.

“According to the Copenhagen Museum, this specimen was taken in 1842 at
Sydgrionland (Fiskaernes), Greenland by E. Hage. Windeballe notes that
it is an adult with many bill grooves with worn primaries and tail
feathers in winter plumage.” [x]



Ever Wondered How Emperor Penguins Survive in Temperatures of


Their feathers are densely packed, and have in fact the highest contour feather destiny of any bird, allowing them to maintain a constant body temperature of 38°C in freezing waters. 

Depsite previous reports that filoplumes and plumules aka.downy feathers, are absent in penguins, new research has found the presence of both feathers in the penguin’s plumage. It was assumed before this that afterfeathers were the sole insulation

component in the penguin’s plumage. 

These downy feathers are about four times denser than the afterfeathers of the bird and play a key role in the insulation of penguins.

‘Hidden keys to survival: the type, density, pattern and functional role of emperor penguin body feathers’. Williams C, Hagelin J, Kooyman G. Proceedings of the Royal Society B.  21 October 2015. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2015.2033 

god there’s something horrid and fantastic about this dense, sinful slice of penguin. This feels like something that should be private. We should thank the penguins for the insight, and then we should gently replace that which we should not have witnessed. This knowledge has a heavy weight