How to get all the confidence of a Silhouette Person

Two recent scientific discoveries rocked us to our fossily core, but there’s a bigger, more shocking story to be told. Who are the silhouette people? Tara Ward finds out. 

It’s been a big month for bones. First, New Zealand scientists uncovered evidence that a giant parrot once roamed the country around 19 million years ago, growing up to one metre tall. It’s the largest parrot ever to have existed, if you don’t count the Breakers mascot, Cheeky the Kea. Which you should, he’s huge.

If that wasn’t exciting enough, paleontologists then discovered proof of the world’s biggest penguin, a mammoth beast that lived 56-65 million years ago, and grew to 1.6 metres high. Big bird, big pack of Bluebird chips. 

Sure, it’s a huge deal, but forget about the fossils. We forgot them for 56 million years, another couple won’t do any harm. The bigger story here is: who are the silhouette people?

Image: Supplied / Canterbury Museum

You can bet your bag of bones that every news article about these prehistoric creatures featured a lovely graph of a silhouette person standing next to these big beaked beasts. These silhouettes sacrificed their own safety so we could grasp the size and scale of the newly-discovered monsters. They pose with their hand on hip, or stare into the distance. They wear bootleg cut jeans. Sometimes they go scuba-diving. 

Who are these mysterious shadows? What is their truth? How can I shop the look? Science is all well and good, but let’s discover the real facts about what your giant animal silhouette says about you. 

Blue Woman

Image: Nobu Tamura / CC BY-SA 4.0

As Lord Attenborough famously once said, “bird, bird, bird, blue bird’s the word”. May we live our lives with the audacious, devil-may-care arrogance of Blue Woman, who’s about to have her left arm ripped off by this behemoth of a penguin and yet couldn’t give a shit. I bet she’s even winking. Such a laissez-faire attitude, such reckless confidence in the superiority of blue silhouettes to outlive even a 56 million year old fossil.

Also, no wonder this bird died out, it can’t even put its wing on its hip. Loser.

Scuba Steve

The 1.65m penguin, Kumimanu. Image: Supplied (Te Papa / Illustration Gerald Mayr)

I’d hate to turn up out of the blue uninvited, but holy heck, I love a good scuba to-scale comparison. From now on, we should compare scuba divers to everything, including All Black victories, Reserve Bank interest rate drops, and breaking stories like ‘Chrissy Teigan’s lips balloon’. 

In other news, why are these shadows always anonymous? Chuck Dame Rachel Hunter or The Briscoes Lady in there to give the side eye to a stonking great penguin, and then we’ll really give that fossil the respect it deserves.

Smart Blazer Woman

Trust the Guardian to bring out the big guns, because Smart Blazer Woman pisses all over Scuba Steve. I want to be this woman. She’s stylishly casual, she’s casually stylish, and she could kick that parrot’s arse with a single flick of her ballet flats. Her hair matches her belt and shoes, just like that parrot matches its beak with its claws. Science! I tip my cap at thee.

Penguin Lady

Image: Supplied / Canterbury Museum

She’s just a girl, standing in front of a 56 million year old penguin, asking him to love her. Penguin Lady might be dressed like a penguin, but she’s striding into the future, which is one thing that dead bird can’t do. Penguin Lady is sleeker than anything you’ll see at Kelly Tarlton’s, she probably builds a good nest on an iceberg and I bet she knows every dance routine from Happy Feet. Marry me in 56 million years time, please. 

Dame Judi Dench

They call this silhouette ‘Average Human Female’, but I prefer to call her ‘Dame Judi Dench’. There’s nothing average about Dame Judi, and there’s nothing average about a giant parrot that’s been dead for 19 million years. Dame Judi’s holding the TV Guide in one hand, while her other hand checks her pocket for her silhouette car keys, so she can drive over to the next graph and put the shits up a tiny magpie. Bravo, Dame Judi, it’s your best work yet.

Molly-Mae from Love Island

Now they’re just taking the piss. This silhouette woman is ridiculously over prepared for her moment in the giant animal spotlight, having donned a hat, phone, and even one of those jazzy dress-blazers that Molly-Mae wore on Love Island. Is it a dress, or is it a blazer? That’s the science discovery we really need. We’ll have to settle for Heracles making mincemeat of Molly-Mae’s handbag, which will learn her for taking a selfie with a giant ghost moa. It is what it is.

Lord Tuxedo 

Image: Supplied / Canterbury Museum / Senckenberg Nature Research Society

Two things: a) watch yourself, that beak is at groin level and b) when did you last see a bird wearing a bow tie?  Asking for a friend. 

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