Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Penguin

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PENGUIN, a name first given to the great auk (Alca impennis), but now applied to any member of the family Sphæniscidæ. Penguins are aquatic birds confined to the high S. latitudes of both hemispheres, where they congregate in large flocks. The body is generally elliptical; neck of moderate length; head small; bill moderately long, straight, compressed; tail short. They have no quills in their wings, which are as rigid as the flippers of a cetacean, and utterly useless for flight, though they move freely at the shoulder-joint, forming most efficient paddles, and are usually worked alternately with a rotatory motion. They make no nests, and lay a single egg, which is tended by both birds, and the female takes charge of the young for nearly 12 months. The emperor penguin is Aptenodytes patagonica, and the king penguin A. longirostris. Their molting is very peculiar. The flipper-like wings cast off short scale-like feathers; they flake off like the shedding of the skin of a serpent.

Collier's 1921 Penguin.png


In botany, the broad-leaved pineapple, Bromelia pinguin, of which penguin is a corruption. It is very common in Jamaica, where it is planted as a fence around pasture lands, on account of its prickly leaves. When stripped of their pulp, soaked in water, and beaten with a wooden mallet, they yield a fiber whence thread is made. The juice of the fruit in water makes a good cooling drink in fevers.

Collier's 1921 Penguin - Antarctic beach.jpg
© Sir Douglas Mawson