Penguins as big as humans survived whatever killed the dinosaurs — as per fossils in New Zealand

Penguins as big as humans survived whatever killed the dinosaurs — as per fossils in New Zealand
Fossils of human sized penguins found in New ZealandCanterbury Museum

  • Fossils of a human sized penguin have been discovered along the banks of a river in New Zealand.
  • This is the biggest penguin species to ever have existed reaching the height of an average human of 1.6 meters.
  • These penguins survived the dinosaurs and ruled for 30 million years before disappearing altogether.
The eroding banks of a river can hold many treasures — gold and gems. In New Zealand, prehistoric bones of the biggest penguin ever from 60 million years ago were found.

The discovery published in Alcheringa states that the remains discovered are of the Crossvallia Waiparensis.

For the country which is already host to the discovery of a bunch of bird fossils — like the world’s largest parrot, the giant eagle, burrowing bats and the moa — a penguin the size of a human being is only the latest feather in its cap.

What's more, the penguin wasn't located by an expert or a scientist but by an amateur, Leigh Love, who just happened to spot the fragments on the river bank.

Human sized penguin

The fossilized bones of the penguin suggest that it was around 1.6 meters tall (5 feet 3 inches), according to the Canterbury Museum. That's the same height as Scarlett Johansson, Drew Barrymore and Carrie Underwood.

Penguins as big as humans survived whatever killed the dinosaurs — as per fossils in New Zealand
Scientists at the Canterbury Museam look over the penguin fossilCanterbury Museum


But, in human terms, the penguin might have been considered to be overweight for his height, at 80 kilograms.

That's twice as heavy and one foot taller than the emperor penguins — the largest penguins that are alive today.

Surviving the dinosaurs

The discovery of these fossils backs up the scientific theory that the penguins were able to outlast the dinosaurs, even as larger marine reptiles disappeared. For the next 30 million years, it was the era of giant penguins, according to Canterbury Museum's senior curator Paul Scofield.

"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," he says.

That is until they disappeared.

Scientists are still trying to figure out what happened but their primary theory is that other marine mammals simply grew big enough to create competition for the penguin.

See also:
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