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Great Auk (Pinguinus impennis), engraving

Item # 1145454

<p>Great Auk. Engraved plate of a Great Auk (Pinguinus impennis), a bird that became extinct in the mid-19th century. This was the last species of a genus of giant flightless birds, and the only species to survive until modern times. Although hunted by native populations in northern Europe and America, it was hunting for its down that brought Great Auk populations close to extincion. The last colony was discovered on the island of Eldey near Iceland, in less than ten years the birds had all been killed, ironically to sell the pelts to museums for preservation and display. This illustration comes from Old Worm's Museum Wormianum, published at Amsterdam in 1655, and purports to show a Great Auk kept as a pet by Professor Worm himself.</p>

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