What is the Pigafetta Penguin?


By Scott A. Rowan

What is the Pigafetta Penguin?

There is no such thing as a Pigafetta Penguin, but it sure seems like there should be.

During his voyage around the world, Ferdinand Magellan (1480-1521) established many firsts including the discovery of the waterway at the base of South America linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans that is now called the Strait of Magellan. Another discovery on the famous voyage was the discovery of the flightless birds that we call Magellanic Penguins.

However, Magellan did not discover the bird, he simply received the honor of the bird’s name because he led the voyage. The person who actually first sighted the bird was an explorer on board named Antonio Pigafetta. Unfortunately for Pigafetta, the boss gets all the glory, apparently, as the penguin he helped introduce to the world became named for his superior, Magellan, and not himself.


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