By Scott A. Rowan
Which penguin is named for a world explorer?
The Magellanic Penguin is named for Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan (1480-1521).
Magellan explored the world for both Portugal (1503-1513) and Spain (1519-1521). It was while sailing under the Spanish flag that Magellan made the discoveries that he primarily known for around the world: leading the first voyage to circumnavigate the globe and the discovery of the waterway connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans below South America that is now known as the Strait of Magellan.
During the voyage around the world one of Magellan’s shipmates, explorer Antonio Pigafetta, discovered the flightless birds in 1520 that eventually became known as Magellanic Penguins.
Not only did Magellan not discover the penguin named after him, he didn’t even complete the voyage around the world. Magellan was killed in the Philippines, but one of his ships managed to complete the voyage home led by Basque navigator Juan Sebastián del Cano.
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