Friday, November 23, 2012

Lovecraft: 1. Everyone Who Laughed At His Giant Penguins: 0

This just in: penguins over six feet tall really did exist.

From "At the Mountains of Madness" (H.P. Lovecarft, 1931):

"For it was only a penguin - albeit of a huge, unknown species larger than the greatest of the
known king penguins, and monstrous in its combined albinism and virtual eyelessness."

"All the birds had flown away, save only the great, grotesque penguins."

"Their size reminded us of some of the archaic penguins depicted in the Old Ones’ sculptures..."

So that's some fiction. Now here's some science:

Giant penguin fossils found in Antarctica

(Source: AFP)

BUENOS AIRES — Argentine experts have discovered the fossils of a two-meter (6.5 foot) tall penguin that lived in Antarctica 34 million years ago.

Paleontologists with the Natural Sciences Museum of La Plata province, where the capital Buenos Aires is located, said the remains were found on the icy southern continent.

"This is the largest penguin known to date in terms of height and body mass," said researcher Carolina Acosta, who noted that the record had been held by emperor penguins, which reach heights of 1.2 meters (4 feet) tall.

Lead researcher Marcelo Reguero added that the find, announced Tuesday, will "allow for a more intensive and complex study of the ancestors of modern penguins."

In its next expedition to Antarctica, during the region's summer, the team will seek additional fossils of the newly discovered species, as well as information about its anatomy and how the giant penguin might have moved.

Previous finds from prehistoric penguins indicated they did not sport the iconic black and white feathers the birds are known for today, but had reddish-brown and gray plumage.

Feckin' Awesome.


Keira said...

Wow!! Just in time for my PhD :-) Thank you :-) 'cause even if they aren't Lovecraft's 'albino' variety, they are a lovely hint of possibilities :-)

Lynne Jamneck said...

Pretty neat, ey?

Tell me about your PhD again? I'm in the mad state right now of considering whether I want to do mine next year...

Keira said...

Creative writing, so have written novel & am looking at Lovecraft's 3 novellas - Call of Cthulhu, At the Mountains of Madness, & The Shadow out of Time in the exegesis: cosmic horror and all that.
What was the actual paper the article on the giant penguins was published in?