Thu, 22 Nov 2012
The giant penguin lived 34 million years ago
Move over Happy Feet, your big brother has been discovered.
Argentine scientists have discovered fossils of a two-metre tall penguin that lived in Antarctica 34 million years ago that would have dwarfed the wayward emperor penguin that found fame after washing up on a beach in Kapiti last year.
Happy Feet stood around 80cm when it was found on Peka Peka beach in 2011, 3200km from its icy home on the continent. Emperor penguins grow to about 1.2m tall.
"This is the largest penguin known to date in terms of height and body mass," researcher Carolina Acosta told Agence France-Presse.
It is hoped the fossil find, announced on Tuesday by palaeontologists at the Natural Sciences Museum of La Plata, will offer insights to the ancestors of modern penguins.
A team will return to the ice to seek further fossils as well as information about its anatomy and how the giant penguin might have moved.