Breeding (standing) and nonbreeding (swimming) plumage. By John Gerrard Keulemans. Johannes Gerardus Keulemans (J G Keulemans ( June 8, 1842, Rotterdam - March 29, 1912, Ilford, Essex (now
Extinct (1852. The conservation status of a Species is an indicator of the likelihood of that species remaining extant either in the present day or the near future In Biology and Ecology, extinction is the cessation of existence of a Species or group of taxa. The last specimen was sighted in Newfoundland. ) (IUCN 3.1)
The Great Auk (Pinguinus impennis, formerly of the genus Alca) is a bird that became extinct in the mid-19th century. Carl Linnaeus (Latinized as Carolus Linnaeus, also known after his ennoblement as, May 23 new style (13 May old style 1707 who laid the foundations for In Scientific nomenclature, synonyms are different Scientific names used for a single Taxon. A genus (plural genera from Γένος Latin genus "descent family type gender" is a low-level Taxonomic The Razorbill, Alca torda, is a large Auk, 38-43 cm in length with a 60-69 cm wingspan Birds ( class Aves) are bipedal endothermic ( Warm-blooded) Vertebrate animals that lay eggs. In Biology and Ecology, extinction is the cessation of existence of a Species or group of taxa. It was the only species in the genus Pinguinus, a group which included several flightless giant auks from the Atlantic, to survive until modern times. In Biology, a species is one of the basic units of Biological classification and a Taxonomic rank. This article is about a family of birds For the American ornithological journal see The Auk. It was also known as garefowl (from the Old Norse geirfugl, meaning "spear-bird", a reference to the shape of its beak), or penguin (before the birds known by that name today were so called). Old Norse is the North Germanic language that was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia and inhabitants of their overseas settlements during the Viking Age Penguins ( order Sphenisciformes, family Spheniscidae) are a group of aquatic, flightless Birds living almost
The Great Auk was found in great numbers on islands off eastern Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Ireland and Great Britain before eventually being hunted to extinction. Country to "Dominion of Canada" or "Canadian Federation" or anything else please read the Talk Page Greenland (Kalaallit Nunaat meaning "Land of the Greenlanders" Grønland is a self-governing Danish Province located between the Iceland, officially the Republic of Iceland ( ( Ísland or Lýðveldið Ísland ( Norway ( Norwegian: Norge ( Bokmål) or Noreg ( Nynorsk) officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Constitutional Ireland (pronounced /ˈaɾlənd/ Éire) is the third largest island in Europe, and the twentieth-largest island in the world See also Kingdom of Great Britain Great Britain (Breatainn Mhòr Prydain Fawr Breten Veur Graet Breetain is the larger of the two main islands Remains found in Floridian middens suggest that, at least occasionally, the Great Auk ventured that far south in winter as recently as the 14th century. Florida ( is a state located in the southeastern region of the United States, bordering Alabama to the northwest and Georgia to the A midden, also known as a kitchen midden, or a shell heap, is a dump for domestic waste. 
The Great Auk was one of the many species originally described by Linnaeus in his 18th century work, Systema Naturae. Carl Linnaeus (Latinized as Carolus Linnaeus, also known after his ennoblement as, May 23 new style (13 May old style 1707 who laid the foundations for The book Systema Naturae was one of the major works of the Swedish doctor of medicine Carolus Linnaeus. 
Analysis of mtDNA sequences have confirmed morphological and biogeographical studies in regarding the Razorbill as the Great Auk's closest living relative. Mitochondrial DNA ( mtDNA) is the DNA located in Organelles called mitochondria. A DNA sequence or genetic sequence is a succession of letters representing the Primary structure of a real or hypothetical DNA Molecule The term morphology in Biology refers to the outward appearance ( Shape, Structure, Colour, Pattern) of an Organism Biogeography is the study of the distribution of Biodiversity over Space and Time. The Razorbill, Alca torda, is a large Auk, 38-43 cm in length with a 60-69 cm wingspan  They were also closely related to the Little Auk (Dovekie), which underwent a radically different evolution compared to Pinguinus, although the entire lineage seems to have evolved in the North Atlantic. The Little Auk, or Dovekie ( Alle alle) is a small Auk, the only member of the genus Alle. Due to its outward similarity to the razorbill (apart from flightlessness and size), the Great Auk was often placed in the genus Alca.
However, the fossil record (Pinguinus alfrednewtoni from the Early Pliocene Yorktown Formation of the Lee Creek Mine, USA) and molecular evidence demonstrate that the three genera, while still closely related, diverged soon after their common ancestor (probably similar to a stout Xantus's Murrelet) had spread to the coasts of the Atlantic. The Pliocene epoch (spelled Pleiocene in some older texts is the period in the Geologic timescale that extends Xantus's Murrelet ( Synthliboramphus hypoleucus) is a small Seabird found in the California Current system in the Pacific Ocean By that time however, the murres, or Atlantic Guillemots had apparently already split off from the other Atlantic alcids. Guillemot is the Common name for several species of Seabird in the Auk family comprising two genera Uria and Cepphus Razorbill-like birds were common in the Atlantic during the Pliocene, but the evolution of the Dovekie is sparsely documented. The Pliocene epoch (spelled Pleiocene in some older texts is the period in the Geologic timescale that extends
The molecular data are compatible with either view, but the weight of evidence suggests placing the Great Auk in a distinct genus.
Standing about 75–85 cm (30–34 in) tall and weighing around 5 kg (11 lb), the flightless Great Auk was the largest of the auks. A centimetre ( American spelling: centimeter, symbol cm) is a unit of Length in the Metric system, equal to one hundredth Inches redirects here To see the Les Savy Fav album see Inches. It had white lower- and glossy black upper feathers, with an area of white feathers on both sides of the head between the beak and each eye. The longest wing feathers were only 10 cm (3. 9 in) long. The eyes had a reddish/brown iris, and the beak was black with white transverse grooves. Its feet and claws were black while the webbed skin between the toes was brown/black. Juvenile birds had less prominent grooves in their beaks and had mottled white and black necks. 
Great Auks were excellent swimmers, using their wings to swim underwater. Ipswich Museum is a registered Museum of culture history and natural heritage located in Ipswich, the County Town of the English county of Suffolk  Their main food was fish, usually 12–20 cm in length, but occasionally up to half the bird's own length. Based on remains associated with Great Auk bones found on Funk Island and on ecological and morphological considerations, it seems that Atlantic menhaden and capelin were favored prey items. Funk Island is a small barren isolated uninhabited island approximately northeast of Wesleyville, Newfoundland, Canada. The Atlantic menhaden ( Brevoortia tyrannus) is a silvery highly compressed fish in the herring family Clupeidae. The capelin or caplin, Mallotus villosus, is a small Fish of the Smelt family found in the Atlantic and Arctic oceans 
Great Auks walked slowly and sometimes used their wings to help them traverse rough terrain.  They had few natural predators, mainly large marine mammals and birds of prey, and had no innate fear of humans. Marine mammals are a diverse group of roughly 120 species of Mammal that are primarily Ocean -dwelling or depend on the ocean for food Birds of prey are Birds that hunt for food primarily on the wing using their keen senses especially vision Their flightlessness and awkwardness on land compounded their vulnerability to humans, who hunted them for food, feathers, and as specimens for museums and private collections. 
The Great Auk laid only one egg each year, which it incubated on bare ground until hatching in June.  The eggs averaged 12. 4cm (4. 9in) in length, and were yellowish white to light ochre with a varying pattern of black, brown or greyish spots and lines which often congregated on the large end. 
The Great Auk was hunted on a significant scale for food, eggs and down from at least the 8th century. The Natural History Museum is one of three large Museums on Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London (the others are the Science Museum For the record label see Duck Down Records The down of Birds is a layer of fine Feathers found under the tougher exterior feathers Prior to that, hunting by local natives can be documented from Late Stone Age Scandinavia and Eastern North America, and from early 5th century Labrador where the bird only seems to have occurred as a straggler. Terminology and usage As a cultural term "Scandinavia" has no official definition and is subject to usage by those who identify with the culture in question as well Modern Labrador Just like its island neighbour Newfoundland early settlement in Labrador was tied to the sea as demonstrated by the Montagnais, Innu and  A person buried at the Maritime Archaic site at Port au Choix, Newfoundland, dating to about 2000 BC, seems to have been interred clothed in a suit made from more than 200 Great Auk skins, with the heads left attached as decoration. The Maritime Archaic is an archaeological period lasting from approximately 7000 BC into modern times Port au Choix or Port aux Choix is a town in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Newfoundland and Labrador (ˈnuːfɨn(dlənd ən(d ˈlæbrəˌdɔr (Terre-Neuve-et-Labrador is a province of Canada, the tenth and latest to join the Confederation 
The Little Ice Age may have reduced their numbers, but massive exploitation for their down drastically reduced the population. The Little Ice Age (LIA was a period of cooling occurring after a warmer era known as the Medieval Warm Period or Medieval Climate Optimum Specimens of the Great Auk and its eggs became collectible and highly prized, and collecting of the eggs contributed to the demise of the species. On Stac an Armin, St Kilda, Scotland, in July, 1840, the last Great Auk seen in the British Isles was killed by two St Kildan residents. Stac an Armin ( or Stac an Àrmainn (the proper Scottish Gaelic spelling formerly àrmuinn) meaning "stack of the soldier/warrior" St Kilda (Hiort is an isolated Archipelago 64 kilometres (40 mi west-northwest of North Uist in the North Atlantic Ocean. Haswell-Smith claims that this was because they thought it was a witch. Witchcraft, in various historical anthropological religious and mythological contexts is the use of certain kinds of Supernatural or magical powers 
The last population lived on Geirfuglasker ("Great Auk Rock") off Iceland. Geirfuglasker (" Great Auk rock" is a small island near Iceland. This island was a volcanic rock surrounded by cliffs which made it inaccessible to humans, but in 1830 the rock submerged, and the birds moved to the nearby island Eldey which was accessible from a single side. Eldey (Fire Island is a small island about 10 miles off the coast of the Reykjanes Peninsula, southwest Iceland. The last pair, found incubating an egg, were killed there on 3 July 1844, with Jon Brandsson and Sigurdur Islefsson strangling the adults and Ketil Ketilsson smashing the egg with his boot. Events 324 - Battle of Adrianople Constantine I defeats Licinius, who flees to Byzantium. Year 1844 ( MDCCCXLIV) was a Leap year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar of the Gregorian Calendar (or a Leap year  However, a later claim of a live individual sighted in 1852 on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland has been accepted by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). 
Today, around 75 eggs of the Great Auk remain in museum collections, along with 24 complete skeletons and 81 mounted skins. While literally thousands of isolated bones have been collected from 19th century Funk Island to Neolithic middens, only a minute number of complete skeletons exist. The Neolithic (from Greek νεολιθικός — neolithikos from νέος neos, "new" + λίθος lithos 
The Great Auk is the mascot of Archmere Academy in Claymont, Delaware, USA; Sir Sandford Fleming college in Ontario, Canada; and the Adelaide University Choral Society (AUCS), Australia. The Natural History Museum at Tring was the private museum of Lionel Walter 2nd Baron Rothschild, today it is under the control of the Natural History Museum Tring is a small Market town in the Chiltern Hills in Hertfordshire, England. England is a Country which is part of the United Kingdom. Its inhabitants account for more than 83% of the total UK population whilst its mainland The term mascot – defined as a term for any person animal or object thought to bring Luck – colloquially includes anything used to represent a group with a common Archmere Academy is a Roman Catholic College preparatory school of 508 students in Claymont Delaware. Claymont is a Census-designated place (CDP in New Castle County, Delaware, United States. For other Fleming Colleges see Fleming College (disambiguation. Ontario (ɒnˈtɛrioʊ is a province located in the central part of Canada, the largest by population and second largest after Quebec  It is also the mascot of the Knowledge Masters educational competition. The Knowledge Master Open (commonly known as Knowledge Masters) is a computer-based semiannual worldwide academic competition in which teams of students from many Schools
The Auk, the scientific journal of the American Ornithologists' Union, is named after this bird. The Auk is a quarterly Journal and the official publication of the American Ornithologists' Union, having been continuously published by that body since The American Ornithologists' Union ( AOU) an ornithological organization in the USA.
According to Homer Hickam's memoir Rocket Boys and its subsequent film production October Sky, the early rockets he and his friends built were named "Auk" along with a sequential numeration as an obvious display of irony. Homer Hadley Hickam Jr (born February 19, 1943) is an American Author, Vietnam veteran, and a former NASA engineer Rocket Boys (also known as October Sky) is the first Memoir in a series of three by Homer Hickam Jr October Sky is a 1999 film produced by Charles Gordon, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Chris Cooper and Laura Dern.
The Great Auk is the subject of a novel, The Last Great Auk by Allen Eckert, which tells of the events leading to the extinction of the Great Auk as seen from the perspective of the last one alive. Allan W Eckert (born January 30 1931) is an American Historical novelist and naturalist.
A Great Auk (presumably stuffed) appears among the possessions of Baba the Turk in the opera The Rake's Progress by Igor Stravinsky with libretto by W.H.Auden and Chester Kallman). The Rake's Progress is an Opera in three acts and an epilogue by Igor Stravinsky. Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky (Игорь Фёдорович Стравинский) ( &ndash 6 April 1971 was a Russian born Composer, considered by many to Wystan Hugh Auden (21 February 1907 – 29 September 1973 ˈwɪstən ˈhjuː ˈɔːdən who signed his works W Chester Simon Kallman ( 7 January 1921 &ndash 18 January 1975) was an American Poet, librettist and translator best known
In the novel adaptation of The Wicker Man by Robin Hardy & Anthony Shaffer, the (fictitious) Summerisle is revealed to be home to a surviving colony of Great Auks. The Wicker Man is a classic cult 1973 British Film filmed in Scotland, combining thriller, Existential Robin Moore Hardy (born 1955 is the Author of more than twenty published books and several unpublished Manuscripts She currently resides in North Texas Anthony Joshua Shaffer ( May 15 1926 &ndash November 6 2001) was an English Playwright, Novelist, and Screenwriter
The Great Auk is a significant factor in the children's book The Island of Adventure by Enid Blyton. The Adventure Series by Enid Blyton, a prolific English children's author is a series of eight children's novels Enid Mary Blyton ( August 11 1897 &ndash November 28 1968) was a British children's writer. Jack is a keen ornithologist, and believes that the mysterious Island of Gloom may host a surviving Great Auk. This belief leads the children to the island, where they don't find a Great Auk but do find adventure.
The Great Auk is also the subject of a Ballet called Still Life at the Penguin Café choreographed by David Bintley; music by Simon Jeffes. Still Life at the Penguin Cafe is a ballet composed by Simon Jeffes and choreographed by David Bintley. Simon Jeffes ( 19 February 1949 - 11 December 1997) was an English classically-trained Guitarist, Composer and