Friday, October 12, 2012

The Suwannee Penguin: Modern Day Cousin of the Extinct Palaeeudyptines

Palaeeudyptines were once the largest species of penguins ever to have existed until extinction took hold of these amazing creatures. Afterwards, the family was lost forever until in 1948, at Florida's Clearwater Beach; strange foot prints were found in the sand. The prints were a mystery until, later that year, a large bird was sighted waddling alongside the beach. This mystery bird stood taller than any human (approx. fifteen feet tall from a distance) and looked similar in appearance toward a penguin. The Suwannee Penguin (named after the same river in Florida) is a modern day cousin of the giant penguins of the far Pacific. These creatures are only found off the coast of North Carolina to the Gulf of Mexico. They're also known to travel inland up large river systems into swamps, marshes, bogs, and even the everglades to mate and lay a single egg. Though they look frightening due to their size, Suwannee Penguins are harmless toward humans and tend to be shy toward them. They'll only attack if somebody frightens or threatens them. Their food sources is a wide variety from fish to aquatic mammals (muskrats) to the fearsome alligator. Predators vary depending on the carnivore's size such as giant alligators or the thought-to-be-extinct Megalodon. Hunting, trapping, and poaching of this rare bird is illegal thanks to the Suwannee Penguin Protection Act (passed in the southern states in the 1950's by Floridian Monstrologists) to help protect this endangered creature from human contact. Also, as a safety measure, Monstrologists created the cover-up called the 'Giant Penguin Hoax' to keep humans from chasing these giant birds just in case the act is dropped (which it had done in the 60's until the early 90's).
The Palaeeudyptines (such as the Kairuku Penguin, shown above) were mainly found in areas such as New Zealand, Antarctica, and even Australia. The Suwannee Penguins are only found in the United States/Mexico and don't enjoy the cold like their modern day cousins.  

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