Thu, Aug 15, 2019 - Page 6 News List

Giant penguin fossil uncovered in NZ

AFP, WELLINGTON

The fossilized remains of a huge penguin almost the size of an adult human have been found in New Zealand’s South Island, scientists announced yesterday.

The giant waddling sea bird stood 1.6m high and weighed 80kg, about four times heavier and 40cm taller than the modern Emperor penguin, researchers said.

Named crossvallia waiparensis, it hunted off New Zealand’s coast in the Paleocene era, 66 to 56 million years ago.

An amateur fossil hunter last year found leg bones belonging to the bird and it was confirmed as a new species in research published this week in Alcheringa: An Australasian Journal of Palaeontology.

The discovery was the second giant penguin from the Paleocene era found in the area, Canterbury Museum researcher Vanesa De Pietri said.

“It further reinforces our theory that penguins attained great size early in their evolution,” she said.

Scientists had previously speculated that the mega-penguins eventually died out due to the emergence of other large marine predators such as seals and toothed whales.

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