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14 Bumpy Facts About All About Eve

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Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s 1950 backstage showbiz drama All About Eve set a record for Oscar nominations—14 in all—that has since only been matched by 1997’s Titanic, but never beaten. Even more impressive, the film is 65 years old yet remains caustically funny and eerily timeless. It seems ambition, jealousy, and vanity never go out of style in Hollywood. Fasten your seat belts for some amusing behind-the-scenes details of how Bette Davis’ comeback vehicle came to be.

1. BETTE DAVIS WAS SUPPOSED TO BE CLAUDETTE COLBERT.

The winsome star of It Happened One Night suffered a back injury while filming Three Came Home, and had to drop out of All About Eve. When Davis came aboard, the screenplay was tweaked a bit to reflect her abrasive public persona. Colbert later said, “I just never had the luck to play bitches.” 

2. IT’S STILL THE ONLY FILM IN HISTORY TO EARN FOUR FEMALE ACTING OSCAR NOMINATIONS.

Bette Davis and Anne Baxter were nominated for Best Actress, making them rivals with the Academy just as they were in the film. Celeste Holm and Thelma Ritter were up for Best Supporting Actress. None of them won, but the movie did take home six trophies that night, including Best Picture.

3. THE WORKING TITLE WAS BEST PERFORMANCE.

All About Eve is a fine title, but it would have been fun to hear things like: “George Sanders won the Oscar for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role for Best Performance.”

4. IT WAS BASED ON A TRUE STORY.

Big surprise, a story about backstabbing in Hollywood actually happened. Elisabeth Bergner, a European stage and screen actress, hired a young fan as an assistant in the early 1940s, only to have the girl try to steal her career. Bergner related the tale to actress and writer Mary Orr, who turned it into a short story called “The Wisdom of Eve,” published in Cosmopolitan in 1946. Along comes Joseph L. Mankiewicz, who’d been working on a story about an aging actress and, after reading “The Wisdom of Eve,” thought a conniving ingénue would be a welcome addition. He got producer Darryl F. Zanuck to buy the rights to Orr’s story and turned it into All About Eve, which he both wrote and directed. Orr got no onscreen credit (though she retained the rights to any non-film adaptations; see below).

5. IT WAS TURNED INTO A BROADWAY MUSICAL.

Applause won the Tony for Best Musical in 1970, with Lauren Bacall in the Bette Davis role. (When Bacall left the show, she was replaced by Anne Baxter, who had played Eve in the movie. At long last, Eve succeeded at becoming Margo!) The script was by Betty Comden and Adolph Green (the duo behind Singin’ in the Rain), with songs by Lee Adams and Charles Strouse (the duo behind Bye Bye Birdie and, later, Annie). Adams and Strouse, unable to secure the rights to adapt the movie, instead got the rights from Mary Orr to adapt her original story, and brought in Comden and Green to write the script. Twentieth Century Fox eventually gave permission to use All About Eve as source material —too late for Comden and Green to incorporate much of it, though Adams and Strouse did add a song called “Fasten Your Seat Belts.”

6. BECAUSE OF A SCREAMING MATCH BETTE DAVIS HAD WITH HER HUSBAND, PEOPLE THOUGHT HER CHARACTER WAS BASED ON TALLULAH BANKHEAD.

Let us explain: The night before shooting began, Davis had a fight with her husband, William Sherry (they were in the process of divorcing), and as a consequence had a raspy voice the next day. She could speak only in a lower register, which she now had to keep up for the whole movie. The husky voice made her sound like Bankhead, a theater actress who, as it happened, had a reputation for being difficult. The rumor went around that Margo Channing was based on Bankhead—a rumor perpetuated by Bankhead herself, who helped it along by playing the role in a 1952 NBC radio adaptation. (During rehearsals for it, she asked Mary Orr point blank if the character was based on her. Orr said, “I assured her that she wasn’t, and that I had Elisabeth Bergner in mind only. This made her so angry, she never spoke to me again.”) Davis later said that without the husky voice, “I don’t think the similarity to Bankhead in my performance would ever have been thought of.”

7. BETTE DAVIS MARRIED HER MOVIE BOYFRIEND, AND LIFE CONTINUED TO IMITATE ART.

Davis and Gary Merrill (who plays her director and boyfriend Bill Sampson) were both married to other people when they met on the set of All About Eve, but they were married to each other by the time the film came out. They adopted a baby and named her Margot (with a “t”), after Davis’ character. The marriage lasted 10 years, and Davis later said it was too much of a fairytale. “I was Margo Channing and he was my director, Bill Sampson. We fell in love with each other in the film and in real life. We then got married in real life. But he thought he was marrying Margo and I thought I was marrying Bill. It wasn’t long before he found out that I wasn’t Margo, and he was certainly no Bill Sampson.”

8. LONI ANDERSON AND LINDA HAMILTON STARRED IN A COUNTRY & WESTERN VERSION.

Country Gold was a 1982 TV movie with Anderson as a Nashville star and Hamilton as the young usurper. 

9. BETTE DAVIS AND HER ONSCREEN BEST FRIEND HATED EACH OTHER IN REAL LIFE, WHILE DAVIS AND HER ONSCREEN RIVAL WERE PALS OFF-CAMERA.

Davis and costar Celeste Holm got off on the wrong foot, the latter’s polite sensibilities offended by the former’s gruffness. Holm avoided Davis when they weren’t on camera together, and the feeling was apparently mutual. Meanwhile, Davis and Anne Baxter became fast friends—a surprise to observers, since Davis had a reputation for disliking her female costars, not to mention the fact that Baxter was playing her onscreen rival.

10. MARILYN MONROE WAS SO NERVOUS SHE BARFED.

The blonde bombshell was just breaking into the movie business when she got the small role of up-and-coming actress Miss Casswell in All About Eve, and she felt grossly intimidated by all the experienced, talented people in the cast. Nervous and insecure, Monroe needed 11 takes to get through the scene where her character talks to Margo after a failed audition. When it was finally done, Davis snapped at her, whereupon Monroe exited the set and vomited.

11. ZSA ZSA GABOR WAS JEALOUS OF MARILYN MONROE.

On the flight to the set at the start of production, George Sanders (who was playing snide theater critic Addison DeWitt) had a middle seat. On one side of him sat Gabor, his 33-year-old wife of one year; on the other side sat Monroe, not yet 24 and, of course, perfectly stunning. Gabor later wrote that Monroe spent the entire flight “batting her eyelashes at George,” which may well have been true. True or not, Gabor was wildly jealous, and went so far as to ask Sanders to get her a part in the movie so that she could keep an eye on the situation. He didn’t do it—he wrote in his memoirs that Gabor’s worries were unfounded, that he saw Monroe as a lost child—but his marriage to Gabor ended a few years later. (He was the third of nine husbands for her; she was second of four wives for him, and he later married her sister, Magda.)

12. IT HAS SOME GAFFES IN THE ONSCREEN CREDITS.

Margo’s director is called Bill Simpson in the credits, but he’s called Bill Sampson in the movie. The credits also list Eddie Fisher in the cast, but his scenes were cut.

13. THE U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT ASKED THE STUDIO NOT TO ENTER THE FILM IN A FESTIVAL FOR FEAR OF OFFENDING EVA PERÓN.

Fox was persuaded not to submit All About Eve to the International Film Festival—held in Montevideo, Uruguay, just down the road from Buenos Aires—because, as Variety explained: “The story of a young film actress who is ruthless in her ambition and willing to step on necks of benefactors to get ahead in the theatre might be construed as paralleling the career of [former actress] Eva Perón, wife of the president of Argentina.”

14. IT WAS CONDEMNED BY THE NATIONAL FIRE PROTECTION ASSOCIATION.

An Indiana man who was part of a local fire prevention committee wrote to national headquarters with this complaint: “We have preached and preached not to smoke in bed, yet I viewed a movie last night where movie actors, under the influence of spirits, smoked in bed. This in my opinion encourages smoking in bed, as the public are quick to act on what they see done. I believe it is time we asked the cooperation of studios not to show actors smoking in bed. It is adult delinquency.” The letter made its way to the MPAA, where officials said that the Production Code, for all its strictness (you couldn’t show married couples sharing a bed, for example), didn’t permit them to forbid the depiction of dangerous smoking habits.

Additional sources:
Turner Classic Movies
All About ‘All About Eve,’ by Sam Staggs
Variety, March 7, 1951: “All About Little Eva?”

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25 Royals in the Line of Succession to the British Throne
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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
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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
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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.
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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
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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
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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
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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.

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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.

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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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