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. It’ll look a little like this:
In fact, though, Kairuku penguins just have unusually long flippers (please keep this in mind when knitting sweaters for them). They’re still about a (penguin) head taller than emperor penguins, though, which are the largest modern penguin — they stood an average of 4 foot 2, to the emperor penguin’s 3 foot 9.
Plus, they are clearly stone-cold brutal assassins. Just look at them ignoring that stranded ancient dolphin. Dudes may be kinda short for giant penguins, but they’re hardcore.
- First Full Look at Prehistoric New Zealand Penguin, Newswise Sciwire
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