Fossil of enormous penguin supplies a brand new window into New Zealand’s long-lost previous


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When a gaggle of junior fossil hunters in Hamilton, New Zealand, went on a area journey in 2006, they dug an intriguing fossil out of the sandstone at Kawhia Harbor.

Many years later, their discover has been recognized as a newly found species of long-extinct big penguin. The invention was not too long ago described within the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

The penguin would have lived between 27.3 million and 34.6 million years in the past in Zealandia, an historical continent concerning the measurement of Australia that’s now nearly completely submerged beneath the South Pacific Ocean. The penguins are thought to have stood about 4 and a half ft tall.

The birds’ gangly backside half helped researchers identify the species. They selected Kairuku waewaeroa, utilizing the time period for “lengthy legs” in Maori, the language of mainland New Zealand’s Indigenous peoples.

The penguin is a window into New Zealand’s long-lost previous — a interval during which sea ranges rose and the continents assumed the form we now acknowledge. There’s an ongoing debate as as to if New Zealand was completely submerged by shallow seas through the interval.

“The fossil penguin reminds us that we share Zealandia with unimaginable animal lineages that attain deep into time,” mentioned Daniel Thomas of Massey College, who co-wrote the article, in a information launch. “The best way the fossil penguin was found, by youngsters out discovering nature, reminds us of the significance of encouraging future generations to develop into kaitiaki [guardians].”

These children at the moment are adults, however present members of the Hamilton Junior Naturalist Membership will proceed to learn from the fossil skeleton they donated to analysis. In the course of the examine, it was modeled utilizing 3-D scanning. A 3-D-printed duplicate was produced for the membership.


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