Scientists have made an alarmingly adorable discovery in New Zealand, where fossils of an ancient species of penguin as big as man have been uncovered.
This Giant and Ancient Species of Penguin
A study report recently released in the journal Nature Communications details the findings. This also showcases the various fossils found at the dig site. Based on the uncovered bones, the scientists have estimated that a live specimen of the Kumimanu biceae would have been at least 1.77 meters or 5’8” feet tall and have weighed nearly 223 pounds.
K. biceae is believed to have lived in that area around 56 million to 60 million years ago. It probably swam in the sea near the island.
According to Gerald Mayr, the lead author of the report and a paleontologist at the Senckenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt, these fossils give us an important insight into the evolutionary history of penguins. He also points out that these are some of the oldest remains found to date.
In particular, these seem to confirm the prevalence of gigantism in the penguin’s familial line. In doing so, they strengthen the results of other discoveries of large (some even bigger than K. biceae) ancient species of penguin fossils from Antarctica, Australia, and elsewhere in New Zealand.
“Kumimanu shows that gigantism was not uncommon in early penguins, and was already in the earliest evolutionary stages of these birds.”