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Mon Feb 27, 2012, 08:40 PM

Giant prehistoric penguins!

BY JESS ZIMMERMAN
27 FEB 2012 2:00 PM


Scientists have spent the past 35 years reconstructing a giant penguin fossil from New Zealand, and here's the first look at their results. Kairuku (Maori for "diver who returns with food") lived about 25 million years ago, and it looks a little different from modern penguins. For starters, it's more than 4 feet tall.
Actually, the height is a bit of a disappointment -- based on flipper length, scientists were initially theorizing that the birds were as much as 6 feet tall, which would have been awesome. I'm still going to imagine they were.

more
http://grist.org/list/#item-giant-prehistoric-penguins

20 replies, 4257 views

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Arrow 20 replies Author Time Post
Reply Giant prehistoric penguins! (Original post)
n2doc Feb 2012 OP
Drale Feb 2012 #1
Fumesucker Feb 2012 #8
OnyxCollie Feb 2012 #12
BlancheSplanchnik Feb 2012 #16
Little Star Feb 2012 #2
xchrom Feb 2012 #3
eppur_se_muova Feb 2012 #4
jimlup Feb 2012 #5
kurt_cagle Feb 2012 #6
Tuesday Afternoon Feb 2012 #7
Crunchy Frog Feb 2012 #9
bluedigger Feb 2012 #10
AlbertCat Feb 2012 #11
muriel_volestrangler Feb 2012 #13
The Wizard Feb 2012 #14
Orsino Feb 2012 #15
Bruce Wayne Feb 2012 #17
TupperHappy Feb 2012 #18
aikoaiko Feb 2012 #19
dipsydoodle Feb 2012 #20

Response to n2doc (Original post)

Mon Feb 27, 2012, 08:53 PM

1. Penguin's are the best animals EVER!! /nt

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Response to Drale (Reply #1)

Mon Feb 27, 2012, 11:59 PM

8. Yep, penguins are cool..

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #8)

Tue Feb 28, 2012, 10:36 AM

12. Oooh, rub that belly!

I've watched that over and over...

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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #8)

Tue Feb 28, 2012, 01:19 PM

16. OMG!!! Cuteness!

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Mon Feb 27, 2012, 09:05 PM

2. You science people sure have piqued my interest since DU3, Thanks!!! k&r

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Mon Feb 27, 2012, 09:18 PM

3. Penguins!11 nt

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Mon Feb 27, 2012, 09:39 PM

4. Giant electric penguins -- with tentacles ! nt

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Mon Feb 27, 2012, 10:25 PM

5. Wow! Hard to imagine how they would have meet their dietary needs...

but I guess that is why they've evolved to be smaller now.

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Response to jimlup (Reply #5)

Mon Feb 27, 2012, 10:41 PM

6. Emperor's aren't that much smaller

A male emperor penguin can be 3 1/2 to 4 feet tall, so these paleo-penguins weren't really significantly bigger. It's also worth remembering that 25 million years ago, ambient global temperature was warmer by about 4 degrees Celcius, and it's also likely that food stocks off both Antarctica, Australia and South America (which were likely habitats for penguins) were huge. Such penguins would have had no problem finding food.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Mon Feb 27, 2012, 11:37 PM

7. Tuxedos!!

yeah!

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Tue Feb 28, 2012, 12:44 AM

9. Science meets Monty Python.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Tue Feb 28, 2012, 04:27 AM

10. Pretty cool.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Tue Feb 28, 2012, 09:23 AM

11. Giant prehistoric penguins!

Attack of the Happy Feet!!!

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Tue Feb 28, 2012, 11:50 AM

13. A different one in Peru:

Ancient giant penguin unearthed in Peru

The fossil of a giant penguin that lived 36 million years ago has been discovered in Peru.
...
The team told Science magazine that the animal's feathers were brown and grey, distinct from the black "tuxedo" look of modern penguins.

It was about 1.5m (5ft) tall and nearly twice as heavy as an Emperor Penguin, the largest living species.

The bird, named Inkayacu paracasensis, or Water King, waddled the Earth during the late Eocene period.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11420635


There was also Anthropornis.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Tue Feb 28, 2012, 12:13 PM

14. Are these the penguins

Moses had on the Ark?

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Tue Feb 28, 2012, 12:27 PM

15. Tekeli-li! n/t

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Tue Feb 28, 2012, 07:45 PM

17. I don't like 'em. I don't trust 'em.

I suspect they'd be used for nefarious purposes if they were around today. My God, imagine the size of laser certain criminals could mount on those! Nowhere in Gotham would be safe!

if only we had a champion!

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Tue Feb 28, 2012, 08:22 PM

18. sabre tooth penguins? (nt)

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Wed Feb 29, 2012, 08:50 AM

19. My six yr old and I had the opportunity to pet and interact with some penguins


It was a wonderful experience at the Tampa aquarium. It cost extra, but it was worthy it.

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Response to n2doc (Original post)

Wed Feb 29, 2012, 09:03 AM

20. Seeing that lot sing and dance must've been excting

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