Penguins Were 5 Feet Tall 61 Million Years Ago

Posted: Mar 2 2017, 1:21am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

Penguins were 5 Feet Tall 61 Million Years Ago
The Waipara giant penguin compared to an Emperor Penguin (the largest extant penguin species) and a human. Image Credit: Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung/ Senckenberg Nature Research Society
  • Prehistoric Penguins were Huge in Size and Lived during the Age of the Dinosaurs

It has been discovered that most prehistoric penguins were huge in size and lived during the age of the dinosaurs.

Giant penguins trod the earth some 61 million years ago. They probably reached heights of 5 feet each. The fossil record shows this very clearly.

Even more intriguing is the fact that these waddling mountains of meat and blubber existed during the times when dinosaurs were extant on the earth. A novel study proves this without a shadow of doubt.

Penguins cannot fly. However, they are able to swim at speeds of 22 mph through icy waterways. Even the Emperor Penguin, which is the largest of its kind found today, happens to be 3.9 feet in height.

However, the fossil record tells us that ancient penguins reached heights of 5.4 feet. Thus these penguins stood almost close to the height of today’s average human being.

Another surprise is that these penguins of the past could fly. Many of the winged bones of modern penguins show anatomy similar in structure to birds which are capable of extended flight.

Modern penguins also have air sacs in their bones. Whereas birds also contain these air sacs so as to reduce their poundage, modern penguins use this feature to achieve buoyancy in water.

Ancient penguins were among the earliest types of birds. Their study may richly contribute towards a discovery of the missing links in research regarding the evolution of birds.

Avian fossils buried beneath sands on shores show these ancient creatures to have evolved towards the end of the era when the dinosaurs were about to become extinct.

The first fossil of this ancient giant penguin was found by an amateur enthusiast. The penguin’s leg bones were analyzed and they were found to be 61 million years old, according to Live Science.

The oldest and biggest known penguins have been classified by now thanks to the efforts of the researchers. They both lived in Antarctica some 45 million to 33 million years ago.

They were probably driven to extinction by the emergence of seals and whales. This latest fossil which has been found remains unclassified though. Some more delving deep down into the archaeology of the situation needs to be carried out before the relevant information will be forthcoming.

The findings of this study were published last week in the journal The Science of Nature.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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