Largest Ever Fossils of Penguin Found in Antarctica

Tuesday, 12 Aug 2014 09:27 AM

By Jennifer G. Hickey

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Argentine researchers have discovered the fossils of a 250-pound penguin in Antarctica, a size that would make it "tall enough to play in the NBA," reports Discovery.

Carolina Acosta Hospitaleche, from the La Plata Museum in Argentina, was able to determine the height of the Palaeeudyptes klekowskii, which lived 37 million to 40 million years ago, by using just the partial wing and ankle-and-foot-bone structure discovered on Antarctica's Seymour Islands.

By comparison, the current holder of the title of World's Largest Penguin is the emperor penguin, which weighs in at 90 pounds and stands at about three and a half feet tall.

Acosta Hospitaleche told The New Scientist that the climate was much warmer 40 million years ago and represented a "wonderful time for penguins, when 10 to 14 species lived together along the Antarctic coast."

This was not her first discovery on the Seymour Islands, which is in the chain of islands around the tip of the Graham Land on the Antarctic Peninsula. Earlier this year, the Argentinian paleontologist found the most complete P. klekowskii skeleton to date.

According to scientists, the larger a penguin is, the longer it can remain submerged underwater. It is estimated the colossus penguin could have stayed underwater for as long as 40 minutes, Phys.org reports.

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