Discovered the giant penguin fossil that existed more than 61 million years ago
A group of scientists discovered a fossil of a penguin more than 150 centimeters long, which would have existed 61 million years ago during the Paleocene.
The fossil found differs significantly from other fossils of the same time, which were discovered earlier, indicating that the diversity of the Paleocene penguins was higher than previously thought.
According to the study published in the journal Nature, the team of scientists believes that the evolution of penguins probably began during the age of dinosaurs.
The bones of the giant penguin’s foot, (Left) compared to those of an emperor penguin, the largest living penguin species (right)
The bones of the giant penguin were found near the Waipara River in New Zealand, an area known for harboring several bird fossils.
“Among the discoveries in that place are the skeletons of Waimanu, the oldest known penguin,” explains Gerald Mayr of the Senckenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt.
Together with colleagues at the Canterbury Museum in New Zealand, Mayr analyzed the giant penguin fossil, and concluded that “leg bones show that during his lifetime this animal was significantly larger than those of his relatives, which means that Belong to a species of later periods “.
According to scientists, the newly discovered penguin lived about 61 million years ago and has reached a body length of approximately 150 centimeters. This species may have been almost the same size as Anthropornis nordenskjoeldi, the largest penguin that ever existed and lived in Antarctica about 45 million years ago – but is much younger.
“This shows that penguins have reached a large size, very early in their evolutionary history, about 60 million years ago,” Mayr adds.