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8 Beloved Things That Aren't Disappearing (Despite What You've Read)

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Don’t panic, but we’re running out of things to panic about running out of. It seems every month the Internet becomes hysterical over an alleged shortage of some popular item. But more often than not, these “shortages” are just live demonstrations of economics at work, taking us on a roller coaster of supply and demand made sensational by panic-inducing headlines. Let’s put a few of these rumors to rest. 

1. Chocolate

You’ve probably read the headlines: “The world’s biggest chocolate-maker says we’re running out of chocolate,” raves the Washington Post. “The cocoa crisis: Why the world’s stash of chocolate is melting away,” The Guardian warns. But fear not, cocoa connoisseurs: The sweet stuff isn’t going anywhere. It’s just going to get a bit more expensive. 

“The ‘running out of chocolate’ theme can reasonably be seen as spreading fear, uncertainty, and doubt in an attempt to manipulate the market,” Clay Gordon, a chocolate consultant and author of the book Discover Chocolate, told mental_floss. “Do you have to worry about there not being chocolate anymore? The answer is no.”

But the narrative isn’t entirely contrived. Gordon says there are two very real pressures on the cocoa chain: climate change, which will likely cut supply, and increased demand for chocolate from new markets, like Asia. If you took economics 101, you know that when supply goes down and demand goes up, prices skyrocket. We’re already seeing this: Cocoa prices have climbed by more than 60 percent since 2012. Cheap, mass market chocolate candies, like Snickers and M&Ms, will be the hardest hit, Gordon says. “The current large producers of cocoa are at greater risks than smaller producers,” he says. Indeed, last year Hershey announced it was raising prices by 8 percent. 

A 2011 study says climate change will start to really impact cocoa farmers by 2030, but goes on to say that “there will also be areas where suitability of cocoa increases,” so there’s that. The looming shortage is also sparking new innovations in cocoa production. Researchers are creating new breeds of cacao trees that are resistant to some disease and can produce seven times more beans.

(And that 60 percent price increase the Washington Post was worried about? That’s lower than the high reached in 2011. In 2012—which the Post used as a baseline—the price collapsed. A just-as-accurate headline would have read "cocoa prices have fallen 15 percent since 2011." And it’s still much lower than the all time cocoa high from 1977.)

Gordon says you can prepare for the price increase by switching from cheap chocolate to higher quality stuff, which may be a bit more pricey, but is unlikely to get any more expensive. “A lot of the higher-end chocolate is made from cocoa that’s purchased more directly and is also made from cocoa beans that are not traded on the market and are not subject to speculation,” he explains. Also, it tastes better. 

2. Bacon

Back in 2012, panic erupted among pork lovers when a global bacon “shortage” threatened to ruin breakfast. The source of the rumor was traced to a single press release from The National Pig Association (NPA) of the United Kingdom that used some pretty strong language, calling a global shortage of pork and bacon “unavoidable.” The story was picked up by CBS News, CNBC, and the Washington Post, among other outlets. But a bacon shortage there was not. Instead, as with chocolate, bacon simply became more expensive for a while. 

The panic was tied to the 2012 drought that badly damaged the global corn supply. Pigs are raised on corn, “hence, the ‘bacon shortage’—actually a global increase in meat prices as a slightly delayed downstream consequence of the increase in corn prices,” as Matthew Yglesias at Slate explained. In 2013, panic spiked again after a virus killed millions of pigs, sending prices even higher. Indeed, the retail price of bacon hit a painful all-time high in the summer of 2014 of around $6 per pound.

But how quickly things change: Just a few months later, the price of pork dropped, with forecasters calling for an all-time high of 23.9 billion pounds to be produced in the U.S. in 2015. “It’s amazing,” John Nalivka, president of agriculture-advisory firm Sterling Marketing Inc., told the Wall Street Journal this January. “We’ve gone from ‘We’re going to run out of pork!’ to ‘What are we going to do with all of this meat?’” 

3. Tequila

Rumors of a tequila shortage have circulated since the early 2000s, when, following a surge in demand, prices skyrocketed and producers needed to start using lower quality product just to fill the gap. Because of the rise in consumption, farmers started planting more agave, the plant from which tequila is made. By 2005, there was so much agave available that the bottom fell out of the market, and many farmers abandoned their agave operations for a more lucrative crop: corn

Many of the farmers who stuck with the tequila-producing plants saw their crop succumb to rot and had to burn large swaths of it around 2007 and 2008. Because the plants take so long to mature, it was rumored that a shortage of agave would only begin to impact the tequila market around 2013, but that never really happened—or at least not to any extreme degree. Because of the boom and bust cycles, large tequila brands have begun to take more care in monitoring their agave nurseries. In 2013, Bloomberg reported that Sauza Tequila had 15 million plants. 

In the last few years, the demand for tequila has only continued to rise, seeing a 5 percent increase in U.S. sales volume last year. Producers have boosted their agave crop accordingly, and many of the large manufacturers are investing in research to turn production into a more efficient science. The downside, experts say, is this cheap mass market tequila is of low quality, the kind only suited for frozen margaritas out of a machine. Depending on your taste in tequila, that might be just fine. 

4. Internet

Despite our love for chocolate, tequila, and bacon, they’re all things we could reasonably live without if we really had to. The Internet, on the other hand, is a necessity for modern living, which is what makes headlines like this one so scary. “It’s been a long time coming, but we’re finally going to run out of internet,” writes Darren Orf at Gizmodo, predicting “an internet crisis of biblical proportion.” The reality is much less click-baity and a little bit technical. Bear with me. 

At the dawn of the modern Internet, each computer was given a different “internet protocol” (or IP) address. In the early '80s, the fourth version (IPv4) was standardized which gave a series of 32-bit numbers unique to each individual computer that identify your device to the Internet. “IP addresses are the Internet’s equivalent of telephone numbers,” explains Robert McMillan at the Wall Street Journal. In total, there are about 4.3 billion possible 32-bit IP numbers, and we’ve run out. But that doesn’t mean your internet is going to shut off. It probably won’t affect you at all, unless you’re a massive business hoping to expand your Internet footprint. 

Some of the biggest Internet companies, including Google and Facebook, are in the process of switching over to a new Internet protocol system called IPv6 (IPv5 never made it out of the lab). As the WSJ explains, the new system “allows for a mind-boggling increase in addresses to 340 undecillion, or 340 followed by 36 zeroes, enough to assign an IP address to every gram of matter on Earth.” The transition will happen over a number of years and, with the exception of a few hiccups for people with outdated home routers or operating systems, consumers’ Internet access shouldn’t be interrupted. 

5. Prosecco

Italian sparkling wine—a.k.a. Prosecco—is now more sought after than actual Champagne (at least in the UK). Despite its growing popularity, the beverage’s prices have remained about the same. So, earlier this year, Robert Cremonese, export manager of a Prosecco brand called Bisol, dropped a marketing bomb on bubbly imbibers. “Last year’s harvest was very poor,” he told an industry publication, “and down by up to 50 percent in some parts, so there is a very real possibility of a global shortage.” 

The media responded accordingly, and people panicked. But the rising tide was short-lived. Stefano Zanette, President of the Prosecco DOC Consortium, a group “charged with protecting, upholding and promoting the standards of Prosecco,” released a statement debunking the scheme. “Despite the fact that the 2014 harvest was hit with some harsh weather,” he said, “the total certified production was up 17.9 percent as compared to the previous harvest.” Cheers! 

6. Avocados

Avocados are having a moment. Or rather, they’re having a decade. In 1999, Americans consumed a little more than a pound of the fruit per capita. Compare that to last year, where that number rose to 5.8 pounds per person. The problem: farming avocados requires a lot of water, about 72 gallons for a single pound of fruit. And California, where 80 percent of American-grown avocados are raised, is facing its fourth year of extreme drought. In April of this year, New York magazine asked, “Have You Eaten Your Last Avocado?” The short answer? No. In fact, the executive director of the Hass Avocado Board told QZ that in 2015, there would be more avocados available in the U.S. than any time in the last 10 years. 

The long answer: California farmers are adapting to the unfortunate growing conditions, planting avocado trees in higher density and seeing good results. “We're producing twice as much fruit for a little bit less water,” one farmer told NPR. The California Avocado Commission expected the 2015 harvest to be up by 10 percent. But even if the Golden State’s harvest was low, 70 percent of the avocados Americans eat are imported from places like Chile and Peru. So, according to New York, “Avocados won’t disappear; they’ll just become a luxury item.” 

7. Limes

Panic over a “limepocalypse” hit a fevered pitch last spring. But it wasn’t so much a shortage as it was a massive and short-lived price hike. The cost of limes increased by 400 percent, with cases going for more than $100 in the first part of last year. Low harvest numbers due to bad rainfall in Mexico, compounded by crop infestation, boosted cost. But the other problem was that many of Mexico’s lime regions were absorbed in a war between farmers and drug cartels. Prices quickly dropped with a crackdown on the cartel, and when the growing season got into full swing and production picked up. Here’s a headline from March of last year: "Soaring lime prices put squeeze on restaurants, food lovers." And less than two months later, in May: "Lime prices plummeting before Cinco de Mayo."

8. Corona

Somehow, Corona has become the 5th best-selling beer in the U.S. with consumption up 10 percent in the last five years. Last month, the Wall Street Journal reported that Constellation Brands, which owns Corona, is boosting its plant size to keep up with demand. It didn’t take long for the narrative to be twisted into fear-mongering headlines warning of an impending Corona shortage. The rumors caught the attention of Constellation Brands’ senior director of communications, Michael McGrew, who issued this statement: "There are some inaccurate reports coming out today stemming from a Wall Street Journal story that ran yesterday. To clarify, we DO NOT anticipate any Corona shortages. There is no merit to this rumor."

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25 Royals in the Line of Succession to the British Throne
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Dan Kitwood, Getty Images

Between the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge welcoming their third child on April 23, 2018 and Prince Harry's upcoming marriage to Suits star Meghan Markle in May, the line of succession to the British throne has become a topic of interest all over the world. And the truth is, it’s complicated. Though Queen Elizabeth II, who turned 92 years old on April 21, shows no signs of slowing down, here are the royals who could one day take her place on the throne—in one very specific order.

1. PRINCE CHARLES

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As a direct result of his mother being the world's longest-reigning monarch, Prince Charles—the eldest child of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip—is the longest serving heir to the throne; he became heir apparent in 1952, when his mother ascended to the throne.

2. PRINCE WILLIAM

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At 35 years old, odds are good that Prince William, Duke of Cambridge—the eldest son of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana—will ascend to the throne at some point in his lifetime.

3. PRINCE GEORGE 

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On July 22, 2013, Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge welcomed their first child, Prince George of Cambridge, who jumped the line to step ahead of his uncle, Prince Harry, to become third in the line of succession.

4. PRINCESS CHARLOTTE 

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On May 2, 2015, William and Catherine added another member to their growing brood: a daughter, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge. Though her parents just welcomed a bouncing baby boy, she will maintain the fourth-in-line position because of the Succession to the Crown Act 2013, which went into effect just a few weeks before her arrival, and removed a long-held rule which stated that any male sibling (regardless of birth order) would automatically move ahead of her.

5. PRINCE OF CAMBRIDGE

 Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge depart the Lindo Wing with their newborn son at St Mary's Hospital on April 23, 2018 in London, England
Chris Jackson, Getty Images

On April 23, 2018, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge welcomed their third child—a son, whose name has yet to be announced, but who has already pushed his uncle, Prince Harry, out of the fifth position in line to the throne.

6. PRINCE HARRY

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As the second-born son of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, Prince Harry's place in the line is a regularly changing one. It changed earlier this week, when his brother William's third child arrived, and could change again if and when their family expands.

7. PRINCE ANDREW, DUKE OF YORK

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Prince Andrew is a perfect example of life before the Succession to the Crown Act 2013: Though he’s the second-born son of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, he’s actually their third child (Princess Anne came between him and Prince Charles). But because the rules gave preference to males, Prince Andrew would inherit the throne before his older sister.

8. PRINCESS BEATRICE OF YORK

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Because Prince Andrew and his ex-wife, Sarah, Duchess of York, had two daughters and no sons, none of that male-preference primogeniture stuff mattered in terms of their placement. But with each child her cousin Prince William has, Princess Beatrice moves farther away from the throne. If Beatrice looks familiar, it might be because of the headlines she made with the Dr. Seuss-like hat she wore to William and Catherine’s wedding. (The infamous topper later sold on eBay for more than $130,000, all of which went to charity.)

9. PRINCESS EUGENIE OF YORK

Princess Eugenie of York arrives in the parade ring during Royal Ascot 2017 at Ascot Racecourse on June 20, 2017 in Ascot, England
Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Though she’s regularly seen at royal events, Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson’s youngest daughter spends the bulk of her time indulging her interest in fine art. She has held several jobs in the art world, and is currently a director at Hauser & Wirth’s London gallery.

10. PRINCE EDWARD, EARL OF WESSEX

 Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex leaves after a visit to Prince Philip
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Like his older brother Andrew, Prince Edward—the youngest son of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip—jumps the line ahead of his older sister, Princess Anne, because of the older rule that put males ahead of females.

11. JAMES, VISCOUNT SEVERN

 James, Viscount Severn, rides on the fun fair carousel on day 4 of the Royal Windsor Horse Show on May 11, 2013 in Windsor, England
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James, Viscount Severn—the younger of Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and Sophie, Countess of Wessex’s two children, and their only son—turned 10 years old on December 17, 2017, and celebrated it as the 10th royal in line of succession. (The birth of the youngest Prince of Cambridge pushed him back a spot.)

12. LADY LOUISE MOUNTBATTEN-WINDSOR

Lady Louise Windsor during the annual Trooping the Colour Ceremony at Buckingham Palace on June 15, 2013 in London, England.
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Because the Succession to the Crown Act 2013 wasn’t enacted until 2015, Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor—the older of Prince Edward’s two children—will always be just behind her brother in the line of succession.

13. PRINCESS ANNE, THE PRINCESS ROYAL

Princess Anne, Princess Royal, visits the Hambleton Equine Clinic on October 10, 2017 in Stokesley, England
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Princess Anne, the Queen and Prince Philip’s second-born child and only daughter, may never rule over the throne in her lifetime, but at least she gets to be called “The Princess Royal.”

14. PETER PHILLIPS

Peter Phillips poses for a photo on The Mall
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The eldest child and only son of Princess Anne and her first husband, Captain Mark Phillips, stands just behind his mother in line. Interesting fact: Had Phillips’s wife, Autumn Kelly, not converted from Roman Catholicism to the Church of England before their marriage in 2008, Phillips would have lost his place in line.

15. SAVANNAH PHILLIPS

Savannah Phillips attends a Christmas Day church service
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On December 29, 2010, Peter and Autumn Phillips celebrated the birth of their first child, Savannah Anne Kathleen Phillips, who is also the Queen’s first great-grandchild. She’s currently 15th in line.

16. ISLA PHILLIPS

Princess Anne, Princess Royal, Isla Phillips and Peter Phillips attend a Christmas Day church service
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Less than two years after Savannah, Peter and Autumn Phillips had a second daughter, Isla, who stands just behind her sister in line. It wasn’t until 2017 that Savannah and Isla made their Buckingham Palace balcony debut (in honor of their great-grandmother’s 91st birthday).

17. ZARA TINDALL

 Zara Tindall arrives for a reception at the Guildhall
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Not one to hide in the background, Zara Tindall—Princess Anne’s second child and only daughter—has lived much of her life in the spotlight. A celebrated equestrian, she won the Eventing World Championship in Aachen in 2006 and was voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year the same year (her mom earned the same title in 1971). She’s also Prince George’s godmother.

18. MIA TINDALL

Mike Tindall, Zara Tindall and their daughter Mia Tindall pose for a photograph during day three of The Big Feastival at Alex James' Farm on August 28, 2016 in Kingham, Oxfordshire.
Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images

Zara Tindall’s daughter Mia may just be 4 years old, but she’s already regularly making headlines for her outgoing personality. And though she’s only 18th in line to the throne, her connection to the tippity top of the royal family is much closer: Prince William is her godfather.

19. DAVID ARMSTRONG-JONES, 2ND EARL OF SNOWDON

David Armstrong-Jones, 2nd Earl of Snowdon
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David Armstrong-Jones, the eldest child of Princess Margaret, isn’t waiting around to see if the British crown ever lands on his head. The 56-year-old, who goes by David Linley in his professional life, has made a name for himself as a talented furniture-maker. His bespoke pieces, sold under the brand name Linley, can be purchased through his own boutiques as well as at Harrods.

20. CHARLES ARMSTRONG-JONES, VISCOUNT LINLEY

Margarita Armstrong-Jones and Charles Patrick Inigo Armstrong-Jones
Chris Jackson-WPA Pool/Getty Images

David Armstrong-Jones’s only son, Charles, may be 20th in line to the throne, but the 18-year-old is the heir apparent to the Earldom of Snowdon.

21. LADY MARGARITA ARMSTRONG-JONES

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (R) talks with Lady Margarita Armstrong-Jones (C) as her father David Armstrong-Jones (L), 2nd Earl of Snowdon, known as David Linley
HANNAH MCKAY/AFP/Getty Images

Lady Margarita Armstrong-Jones, the youngest child of David Armstrong-Jones and his only daughter, is also the only granddaughter of Princess Margaret. Now 15 years old (she'll turn 16 in June), Lady Margarita made headlines around the world in 2011 when she served as a flower girl at the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton.

22. LADY SARAH CHATTO

Lady Sarah Chatto, the daughter of Princess Margaret arrives for her mother's memorial service
STEPHEN HIRD/AFP/Getty Images

Lady Sarah Chatto, Princess Margaret and Anthony Armstrong-Jones’s only daughter, is the youngest grandchild of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. In addition to serving as a bridesmaid to Princess Diana, she is Prince Harry’s godmother.

23. SAMUEL CHATTO

Lady Sarah Chatto (L) and her son Samuel Chatto (R) leave a Service of Thanksgiving for the life and work of Lord Snowdon at Westminster Abbey on April 7, 2017 in London, United Kingdom
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The first-born son of Lady Sarah Chatto and her husband, Daniel, has a long way to go to reach the throne: He’s currently 23rd in line.

24. ARTHUR CHATTO

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For better or worse, Sarah and Daniel Chatto’s youngest son Arthur has become a bit of a social media sensation. He's made headlines recently as he regularly posts selfies to Instagram—some of them on the eyebrow-raising side, at least as far as royals go.

25. PRINCE RICHARD, DUKE OF GLOUCESTER

Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester makes a speech during the unveiling ceremony of London's first public memorial to the Korean War on December 3, 2014 in London, England
Carl Court/Getty Images

At 73 years old, Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester is the youngest grandchild of King George V and Queen Mary. Formerly, he made a living as an architect, until the 1972 death of his brother, Prince William of Gloucester, put him next in line to inherit his father’s dukedom. On June 10, 1974, he officially succeeded his father as Duke of Gloucester, Earl of Ulster, and Baron Culloden.

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20 Black-and-White Facts About Penguins
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To celebrate World Penguin Day (which is today, April 25), here are a few fun facts about these adorable tuxedoed birds.

1. All 17 species of penguins are found exclusively in the Southern Hemisphere.

2. Emperor Penguins are the tallest species, standing nearly 4 feet tall. The smallest is the Little Blue Penguin, which is only about 16 inches.

emperor penguin
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3. The fastest species is the Gentoo Penguin, which can reach swimming speeds up to 22 mph.

Gentoo Penguin
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4. A penguin's striking coloring is a matter of camouflage; from above, its black back blends into the murky depths of the ocean. From below, its white belly is hidden against the bright surface.

penguins swimming in the ocean
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5. Fossils place the earliest penguin relative at some 60 million years ago, meaning an ancestor of the birds we see today survived the mass extinction of the dinosaurs.

emperor penguins
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6. Penguins ingest a lot of seawater while hunting for fish, but a special gland behind their eyes—the supraorbital gland—filters out the saltwater from their blood stream. Penguins excrete it through their beaks, or by sneezing.

penguins swimming in the ocean
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7. Unlike most birds—which lose and replace a few feathers at a time—penguins molt all at once, spending two or three weeks land-bound as they undergo what is called the catastrophic molt.

molting penguin
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8. All but two species of penguins breed in large colonies of up to a thousand birds.

king penguins
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9. It varies by species, but many penguins will mate with the same member of the opposite sex season after season.

chinstrap penguins
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10. Similarly, most species are also loyal to their exact nesting site, often returning to the same rookery in which they were born.

maegellic penguin nesting
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11. Some species create nests for their eggs out of pebbles and loose feathers. Emperor Penguins are an exception: They incubate a single egg each breeding season on the top of their feet. Under a loose fold of skin is a featherless area with a concentration of blood vessels that keeps the egg warm.

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12. In some species, it is the male penguin which incubates the eggs while females leave to hunt for weeks at a time. Because of this, pudgy males—with enough fat storage to survive weeks without eating—are most desirable.

emperor penguins
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13. Penguin parents—both male and female—care for their young for several months until the chicks are strong enough to hunt for food on their own.

Penguins nest
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14. If a female Emperor Penguin's baby dies, she will often "kidnap" an unrelated chick.

penguin chicks
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15. Despite their lack of visible ears, penguins have excellent hearing and rely on distinct calls to identify their mates when returning to the crowded breeding grounds.

16. The first published account of penguins comes from Antonio Pigafetta, who was aboard Ferdinand Magellan's first circumnavigation of the globe in 1520. They spotted the animals near what was probably Punta Tombo in Argentina. (He called them "strange geese.")

17. An earlier, anonymous diary entry from Vasco da Gama's 1497 voyage around the Cape of Good Hope makes mention of flightless birds as large as ducks.

18. Because they aren't used to danger from animals on solid ground, wild penguins exhibit no particular fear of human tourists.

19. Unlike most sea mammals—which rely on blubber to stay warm—penguins survive because their feathers trap a layer of warm air next to the skin that serves as insulation, especially when they start generating muscular heat by swimming around.

20. In the 16th century, the word penguin actually referred to great auks (scientific name: Pinguinus impennis), a now-extinct species that inhabited the seas around eastern Canada. When explorers traveled to the Southern Hemisphere, they saw black and white birds that resembled auks, and called them penguins.

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