How Was the Auk Similar to the Penguin and How Did Newfoundland Help in Naming the Penguin?

The now extinct great auk of the North Atlantic was a large bird with small wings.

This made it very similar in appearance to the Antarctic penguin that we know today.

Because of these underdeveloped wings, the auk was called a “pin-wing”.

And so in 1578, when the first description of the bird came out of Newfoundland, it was written as it sounded in the local dialect.

Pin-wing became penguin.

The name and the spelling were then given to the auk’s southern look-alike.

Coincidentally, the auk’s Latin name is pinguinis.