Dozens of ancient penguin ‘mummies’ discovered at lost nesting site in Antarctica

On a dry, windy cape in southern Antarctica, the ground is strewn with dead, mummified penguins. The rocks around them are littered with bones, pebbles and guano stains — the telltale marks of a freshly abandoned Adélie penguin colony.

Scenes like this are common around Antarctica’s Ross Sea, which is home to millions of Adélies and other thriving penguin populations. Still, the sight at Cape Irizar puzzled biologist Steve Emslie, a professor at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, when he visited in January 2016; he knew that Adélie penguins hadn’t been spotted there in hundreds of years. Where had the remains of this ghostly colony suddenly materialized from?

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