The fossilized remains of a colossal penguin nearly the size of an adult human have been present in New Zealand’s South Island, scientists announced Wednesday.
The enormous waddling sea bird stood 1.6 meters (63 inches) high and weighed 80 kilograms, about four occasions heavier and 40cm taller than the modern Emperor penguin, researchers stated.
Specified as Crossvallia waiparensis, it hunted off New Zealand’s shoreline in the Paleocene era, 66-56 million years in the ago.
An amateur fossil hunter found leg bones relating to the bird last year, and it was confirmed as a brand new species in research published this week in Alcheringa: An Australasian Journal of Palaeontology.
Canterbury Museum researcher Vanesa De Pietri mentioned it was the second giant penguin from the Paleocene era found within the area.
“It additionally reinforces our theory that penguins attained great dimension early in their evolution,” she said.
Scientists have previously hypothesized that the mega-penguins eventually died out due to the emergence of different giant marine predators such as seals and toothed whales.
New Zealand is very popular for its large extinct birds, including the flightless moa, which was up to 3.6-meters tall, and Haast’s eagle, which had a wingspan of three meters.
Just last week, Canterbury Museum announced the discovery of a prodigious parrot that was one-meter-tall and lived about 19 million years ago.