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Sun Mar 5, 2017, 04:54 PM

Giant Prehistoric Penguins Evolved During the Dinosaur Age

Giant Prehistoric Penguins Evolved During the Dinosaur Age
By Charles Q. Choi, Live Science Contributor | February 28, 2017 08:45am ET





The Waipara giant penguin compared to an emperor penguin (the largest living penguin species) and a human.
Credit: copyright Senckenberg Nature Research Society



Penguins that walked the Earth 61 million years ago might have been giants, growing to nearly 5 feet tall, according to the oldest penguin fossils unearthed to date. Perhaps even more impressive, these oversize waddlers might have evolved alongside dinosaurs, the researchers report in a new study.

Penguins are flightless, but they can swim at speeds of up to 22 mph (35 km/h). The biggest living penguin, the emperor penguin, can grow to be about 3.9 feet (1.2 meters) tall, but previously unearthed fossils revealed that extinct penguins could get as large as 5.4 feet (1.65 m) tall.

Although penguins are flightless, their anatomy suggests that their ancestors could fly, just as other modern birds can. For example, some wing bones in living penguins are fused together in the same way as those in flying birds, said study co-author Paul Scofield, a paleontologist at the Canterbury Museum in Christchurch, New Zealand. In addition,modern penguins have air sacs in their bodies just as flying birds do, although in flying birds, these air sacs help reduce weight for flight, whereas in penguins, they help the birds control their buoyancy, Scofield told Live Science. [Images: The Emperor Penguins of Antarctica]

Ancient penguin bones "are among the oldest fossils of modern birds known from anywhere in the world," said study lead author Gerald Mayr, an ornithologist at the Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum Frankfurt in Germany. As such, investigating penguin fossils can help address "ongoing debates on when exactly modern birds appeared," Mayr told Live Science.

More:
http://www.livescience.com/58042-giant-penguins-evolved-alongside-dinosaurs.html?utm_source=notification

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Reply Giant Prehistoric Penguins Evolved During the Dinosaur Age (Original post)
Judi Lynn Mar 2017 OP
pkdu Mar 2017 #1
lapucelle Mar 2017 #2
shenmue Mar 2017 #3
SCantiGOP Mar 2017 #4

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sun Mar 5, 2017, 05:02 PM

1. ...and the guy is wearing a "penguin suit"...who knew scientists had a sense of humor! nt

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sun Mar 5, 2017, 05:04 PM

2. And I bet they were still cute...

Great story. Thanks

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sun Mar 5, 2017, 05:39 PM

3. Wowsers

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Mar 6, 2017, 12:27 PM

4. Opus on steroids

Scary concept.

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