The discovery of one of the oldest penguin fossils in the world reveals higher diversity of early penguins than previously thought.
Whenever I am tempted to think that everything on the planet has been discovered, a new fossil turns up.
Melissa Breyer writes at TreeHugger that a recently unearthed penguin fossil is responsible for a small but significant adjustment to how we see our world.
“Along the Waipara River in New Zealand’s Canterbury region are sites rich in avian fossils, many of which were entombed in marine sand not long (relatively speaking) after the extinction of the dinosaurs.
“One of the more intriguing fossil finds there of late is that of a giant penguin discovered by ornithologist Dr. Gerald Mayr from the Senckenberg Society for Natural Research and a team of colleagues from New Zealand. The Waimanu penguin had a man-sized body length of 150 centimeters (5 feet) and … is among the oldest penguin fossils in the world.
“But what makes the Waimanu even more interesting is that the bones are significantly different from other penguin fossils from the same time period, revealing that the diversity of Paleocene penguins was higher than previously thought. …
” ‘This diversity indicates that the first representatives of penguins already arose during the age of dinosaurs.’ ” More here.
Pretty funny that in order to illustrate the size of the newly found penguin relative to a grown man, the Senckenberg Society put the man in a “penguin suit.”