Newly Discovered 'Monster' Penguin Was As Tall As an Adult Human

livescience.com | 8/14/2019 | Laura Geggel
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Fish swam for their lives when they encountered a forbidding, ancient "monster" penguin that would have towered over today's largest penguin, the emperor, a new study finds.

The newly described aquatic beast, dubbed Crossvallia waiparensis, measured 5 feet, 3 inches (1.6 meters) tall, about the height of an adult woman. It weighed up to 176 lbs. (80 kilograms), packing on the pounds as it hunted aquatic prey around ancient New Zealand during the Paleocene epoch, 66 million to 56 million years ago.

Species - Penguin - Record - Honor - Palaeeudyptes

But while this newfound species was huge, it isn't the largest penguin on record. That honor goes to the 37-million-year-old Palaeeudyptes klekowskii, which stood an impressive 6.5 feet (2 m) tall and weighed 250 lbs. (115 kg).

Amateur paleontologist and study co-researcher Leigh Love found fossilized leg bones of the newfound penguin in the town of Waipara, located in Canterbury, New Zealand. This region is a hotspot of giant, ancient animals. Other humongous, but now extinct, creatures discovered there include the world's largest parrot, a giant eagle, a giant burrowing bat, the moa (a giant, flightless bird) and five other penguin species.

Emperor - Penguin - Aptenodytes - Shrimp - C

The emperor penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri) was a shrimp compared with C. waiparensis. The modern bird stands between 3 and 3.9 feet (0.9 and 1.2 m) tall. But the emperor is just a distant relative of the newly identified creature. C. waiparensis's closest known relative is Crossvallia unienwillia, which also lived during the Paleocene but in Cross Valley, Antarctica. Though the land masses are separate today, New Zealand and Antarctica were connected during the Paleocene, the researchers said.

"When the Crossvallia species were alive, New Zealand and Antarctica were very different from today — Antarctica was covered in forest and both had much warmer climates," study senior researcher Paul Scofield, the senior curator of Natural History at Canterbury Museum in New...
(Excerpt) Read more at: livescience.com
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