This Beautiful Black Emperor Penguin May Be The Only One Of Its Kind
DAVID TIPLING/GETTY IMAGES

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.



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.

It's complicated.


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


The mutation does occur in King penguins (the slightly smaller similarly marked cousins), so there are other cute melanistic penguins to take in.





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.





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:


Yes.
Godspeed.

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