The fossil of a penguin giant discovered in New Zealand

News 12 December, 2017
  • File Photo, AFP


    Tuesday, 12 December 2017 12:07

    Tuesday, 12 December 2017 12:07

    Look at this article

    Paris | 1,77 meter to 100 pounds: a wrestler ? a linebacker ? No, a penguin from New Zealand. Researchers announced Tuesday, have discovered the fossil of a ” kumimanu “, “bird monster” in maori, ” one of the largest specimens discovered to date.”

    “It is extraordinary that these penguins early to have reached such a scale,” says Gerald Mayr of the research institute Senckenberg, the natural history museum of Frankfurt (Germany), co-author of the study.

    According to the findings of a team of researchers at German and new zealand, the animal, discovered on the South island of New Zealand, would have graced the ice there are 55 to 60 million years ago, in the Paleocene.

    “The size of the bones (especially femur 16 cm, editor’s note) shows that this species was more than 1.70 m and weighed more than 100 kilos,” says the ornithologist in a press release by the institute. 50 cm and 60 kg more than the emperor penguin, the largest and the heaviest current representative of this family of seabirds.

    “We quickly realized that we are looking at a species hitherto unknown,” says Gerald Mayr.

    Two other fossils of penguins the giants have already been discovered on this island of New Zealand. Called “waipara” and “waimanu” and between the ages of 61 million years ago, they were a bit smaller than ” kumimanu “.

    According to the study published in Nature Communications, this discovery proves that the gigantism was not uncommon among the early penguins.

    But what is the reason for the disappearance of these birds, giants of the earth’s surface ? This remains a mystery. For the researchers, their extinction may be related to the appearance of large marine predators such as seals and toothed whales “.