When penguins ruled after dinosaurs died

phys.org | 8/14/2019 | Staff
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What waddled on land but swam supremely in subtropical seas more than 60 million years ago, after the dinosaurs were wiped out on sea and land?

Fossil records show giant human-sized penguins flew through Southern Hemisphere waters—along side smaller forms, similar in size to some species that live in Antarctica today.

Kupoupou - Stilwelli - Chatham - Islands - Pacific

Now the newly described Kupoupou stilwelli has been found on the geographically remote Chatham Islands in the southern Pacific near New Zealand's South Island. It appears to be the oldest penguin known with proportions close to its modern relatives.

It lived between 62.5 million and 60 million years ago at a time when there was no ice cap at the South Pole and the seas around New Zealand were tropical or subtropical.

Flinders - University - PhD - Palaeontology - Candidate

Flinders University Ph.D. palaeontology candidate and University of Canterbury graduate Jacob Blokland made the discovery after studying fossil skeletons collected from Chatham Island between 2006 and 2011.

He helped build a picture of an ancient penguin that bridges a gap between extinct giant penguins and their modern relatives.

Cousins - Monster - Penguin - Crossvallia - Waiparensis

"Next to its colossal human-sized cousins, including the recently described monster penguin Crossvallia waiparensis, Kupoupou was comparatively small—no bigger than modern King Penguins which stand just under 1.1 metres tall," says Mr Blokland, who worked with Professor Paul Scofield and Associate Professor Catherine Reid, as well as Flinders palaeontologist Associate Professor Trevor Worthy on the discovery.

"Kupoupou also had...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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