A penguin is one of the cutest sights on earth. Especially those really small ones that dawdle around. However, if you were around about 56 million years ago, perhaps you wouldn’t have felt the same way.
A giant human-sized penguin fossil has been discovered in New Zealand’s South Island by a palaeontologist. The new species was named Crossvallia waiparensis, believed to have stood at 1.6m high and weighing 80kg. This is four times heavier and 40cm taller than the Emperor Penguin, today’s largest sized penguin.
Another oversized bird fossil has been discovered in New Zealand’s South Island, this time a gigantic human-sized penguin species.
New Zealand has a history of being home to the fossils of oversized birds, most notably a 3.6m tall moa bird and an eagle with a wingspan over 3 metres in length. It’s fair to say, our mates across the ditch were home to some pretty big boys back in the day.
For you science brainiacs out there, analysis of the penguin’s leg bones suggest that their feet played a larger role in swimming back in the day, in comparison to modern day penguins. How good is evolution!
It is still unclear what caused the extinction of these penguin beasts. Most likely it was due to competition of larger marine predators such as seals and toothed wales. It is suggested that penguins were larger 50-60 million years ago due to warmer climates in Antarctica and New Zealand during that time.
One thing is for certain it would have been scary as hell passing a colony of these bad boys down at the wharf.