Everyone knows Emperor penguins.
There was that hit documentary film narrated by Morgan Freeman, Non-stop Penguin Carnage.
Although most people know it by its other title:
(Death) March of the Penguins
Sorry, still feeling a bit triggered.
If you've ever watched a nature documentary that has gone into an antarctic climate, you've likely caught a few shots of emperor penguins waddling around or perhaps tobogganing down a snow drift.
If you haven't check them out!
They're kinda cute.
Emperor Likes Me youtu.be
They're especially cute as chicks.
Now, IFLScience just released a picture of a different kind of Emperor Penguin with a solid black coat.
It is gorgeous, and sadly, it may be the only one in the entire world.
This May Be The Only Penguin Of Its Kind On The Planet https://t.co/1XWLytBm1b https://t.co/ocG5YeMA93— IFLScience (@IFLScience)1550681736.0
The totally black coat is likely a mutation called "melanism," which denotes a high concentration of melanin in the animal.
It's sort of like the opposite of albinism, although not exactly.
White, Albino-like Penguin Found in Antarctica http://t.co/zNmiQcZayK— Weird Facts (@Weird Facts)1408212139.0
According to IFLScience, melanism and partial melanism has never been documented in Emperor penguins before, so it is likely that this penguin is the only penguin of his kind.
Ornithologist Allan Baker, a professor of environmental and evolutionary studies at the University of Toronto and head of the Royal Ontario Museum's Department of Natural History said:
"It's a one in a zillion kind of mutation somewhere. The animal has lost control of its pigmentation patterns. Presumably, it's some kind of mutation."
He's still cute when he waddles though.
The Rarest Penguin On Earth | Dynasties Saturdays at 9pm | BBC America youtu.be
Say hello to the melanistic penguin http://t.co/5CSuP9evne #EarthCapture by @ewaneddy http://t.co/elOKKCoDLK— BBC Earth (@BBC Earth)1426730412.0
The mutation does occur in King penguins (the slightly smaller similarly marked cousins), so there are other cute melanistic penguins to take in.
Melanistic (Black) King Penguin http://t.co/lBpL212ver— Amazing Wildlife (@Amazing Wildlife)1420147807.0
New favourite animal MT @BBCEarth: melanistic king penguin by @ewaneddy http://t.co/cBvc22BvxG— Kara Š (@Kara Š)1426520862.0
Yeah you might be "goth" but are you "melanistic penguin goth"? https://t.co/HbXpTkZ54a— Dashiell M. Silva (@Dashiell M. Silva)1539685511.0
So this is one of the coolest things I've ever seen. A melanistic king penguin?! http://t.co/M4WeqDcOMG— Lydia Johnson (@Lydia Johnson)1426708661.0
But as for Emperor penguins, which survive primarily in the Antarctic against a constant blanket of snow, the melanism provides a distinct disadvantage.
The black coat stands out against the white of the snow.
It is unusual for the melanistic penguin to survive until adulthood because it is an easier target for predators.
'First footage' of the ALL BLACK emperor #penguin! David Attenborough's BBC crews release newly-edited film of incr… https://t.co/tEaHK51q9j— Hans Solo (@Hans Solo)1550669569.0
Cool news — Even the rarest penguins are showing up to voice their support for the #GreenNewDeal. https://t.co/PWS5rKSU2Z— Green New Deal Penguin 🌅 (@Green New Deal Penguin 🌅)1550793818.0
‘Rarest Penguin On Earth’ Caught On Camera In Antarctica - New footage from BBC America shows what just might be a… https://t.co/efHvaOT1lE— effinfun (@effinfun)1550571899.0
Footage shows incredibly rare all black emperor penguin: An all black emperor penguin has been spotted in the Antar… https://t.co/eOzuePhkUe— RushReads (@RushReads)1550583039.0
This, combined with the rarity of the mutation, might explain why an adult melanistic Emperor penguin is so rare.
The risk still exists for the adult penguin, so as one user so astutely put it:
@HuffPost Godspeed You black Emperor penguin— ĐȺmnȺŧɨø mɇmøɍɨȺɇ🐒🔧🏛ⱣɍøđɨǥȺł Ᵽøɇ (@ĐȺmnȺŧɨø mɇmøɍɨȺɇ🐒🔧🏛ⱣɍøđɨǥȺł Ᵽøɇ)1550571962.0