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The Pleasing Penguin

There is distinguished evidence that penguins enjoy some types of music. The polar explorer Robert F. Scott noted that penguins would always “come up at a trot ” when his men were singing, and he says that several of his men could frequently be found on the deck of the ship singing before an “admiring group of penguins.” Sir Ernest Henry Shackelton observed the same thing. But apparently penguins are somewhat priggish about their music. A phonograph was put out on the ice, and soon a crowd of penguins gathered around, and apparently listened with pleasure and interest. This continued for a time, but when the music, which had been sedate, became frivolous, the birds began to be uneasy. Then the record was changed to “Waltz Me Around Again, Willie.” This was too much for the penguins. For a moment, a moment only, the birds waited; then, with one mind they turned, squawking disgustedly, and went off. Their ancient dignity had been profaned.

Captain Robert Falcon Scott (1868 – 1912) was a Royal Navy officer and explorer who led two expeditions to the Antarctic regions: the Discovery expedition of 1901–1904 and the ill-fated Terra Nova expedition of 1910–1913. On the first expedition, he set a new southern record by marching to latitude 82°S and discovered the Antarctic Plateau, on which the South Pole is located. On the second venture, Scott led a party of five which reached the South Pole on 17 January 1912, less than five weeks after Amundsen's South Pole expedition.

A planned meeting with supporting dog teams from the base camp failed, despite Scott's written instructions, and at a distance of 162 miles (261 km) from their base camp at Hut Point and approximately 12.5 miles (20 km) from the next depot, Scott and his companions died. When Scott and his party's bodies were discovered, they had in their possession the first Antarctic fossils ever discovered. The fossils were determined to be from the Glossopteris tree and proved that Antarctica was once forested and joined to other continents.


1. The best title for this article is:

  1. Robert F. Scott’s Phonograph.
  2. Lullabies in Birdland.
  3. Discriminating Penguins.
  4. Cool Tunes.

2. Penguins seem

  1. to cluster always in groups.
  2. to be able to dance to music.
  3. to communicate with musical cries.
  4. to appreciate music.

3. Scott’s men were able

  1. to imitate penguin mating cries.
  2. to train penguins with music.
  3. to record penguin songs.
  4. to attract penguins with their singing.

4. Penguins apparently prefer

  1. frivolous music.
  2. calm, peaceful music.
  3. any music compared to no music.
  4. live singing to recorded music.

5. To develop his point, the author uses

  1. factual description.
  2. arguments and proof.
  3. personal opinion.
  4. persuasion.

6. The word priggish, as used in this article, most nearly means

  1. pig-like.
  2. careless.
  3. particular.
  4. ignorant.

 

 

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