Fossil of ancient giant penguin unearthed
  • picture

This newly described species of penguin is thought to have walked the Earth over 60 million years ago.

Fossil remains discovered along the Waipara River in New Zealand's Canterbury region suggest that this prehistoric ancestor of today's penguins grew to a whopping 1.5 meters in height.

First identified by Dr Gerald Mayr from the Senckenberg Research Institute and his colleagues from New Zealand, these huge animals were quite different to other penguins from the same period.

"The special feature of this fossil is that it differs significantly from the hitherto known penguin findings from this section of the earth's history," said Mayr.

"The bones that we are investigating show that the newly described penguin was much larger than his already described relative. It also belongs to a species closer to penguins from later periods."

"Penguins had therefore reached enormous proportions very early in their history of evolution.