Wednesday, 3 January 2018

New Zealand's ancient penguin was as big as a human

The discovery of New Zealand’s now extinct mega-penguin is attracting world-wide attention.
Fossils of a giant man-sized penguin that once roamed New Zealand sat on a shelf for years before scientists started exploring their secrets.

The bones were found in a chunk of rock on an Otago beach in 2004. The creature measured nearly 1.77 metres long when swimming and weighed in at 101kg.

When standing, the ancient bird was maybe only 1.6m. The biggest penguin today, the emperor in Antarctica, stands less than 1.2m tall.

The newly found bird is about 18cm longer than any other ancient penguin that has left a substantial portion of a skeleton, said Gerald Mayr of the Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum in Frankfurt, Germany. A potentially bigger rival is known only from a fragment of leg bone, making a size estimate difficult.

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