Biggest Fossil Penguin

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Biggest fossil penguin found, according to ABC News in Science and New Scientist 28 February 2012. An international team of scientists led by Daniel Ksepka of North Carolina State University has studied almost complete fossil penguins found in New Zealand and concluded the birds were 1.3 metres (4ft 3in) tall and weighed approximately 60kg, making them the tallest heaviest penguins known. The largest living penguin, the Emperor Penguin, is approximately one metre (3ft 3in) tall and weighs around 40kg. The fossil penguin would have looked similar to a modern day penguin, but had a longer beak and was more slender with longer flippers. Ksepka commented: “Modern penguins are chubby little dudes”. The new fossil has been named Kairuku grebneffi and is dated as 27 million years old.

Tatsuro Ando of the Ashoro Museum of Paleontology in Japan claims “The Kairuku penguins were the last generation of so-called ‘giant penguins’, the term indicating any fossil penguins that were much larger than the living largest Emperor penguin”. According to the ABC article “Stig Walsh, senior curator of Vertebrate Paleontology at National Museums Scotland, suspects that even taller penguins might be unearthed in the future but, for now, K. grebneffi is the height and weight champ”.

This is not the oldest penguin. The oldest penguin, Waimanu, also found in New Zealand, is believed to be 60 million years old. The scientists believe the earliest penguins could both fly and dive deeply but lost their ability to fly after the cretaceous extinction. Penguin DNA is closest to tubenose seabirds, such as albatrosses and petrels, which can dive to significant depths.

ABC, New Scientist

Editorial Comment: There may be some dispute as to which fossil penguin holds the record for size and weight, since fossil penguins found in Peru are reported to have been 1.5m tall and nearly twice as heavy as an Emperor Penguin. Whichever fossil holds the record, the significant point is that penguins used to be bigger and there were more varieties of them. The theory they used to be able to fly and dive is a belief based purely on faith in evolutionary theory, but not on any evidence. The oldest fossil penguin known was a non-flying bird just like living penguins. Therefore, penguin fossils also confirm Genesis, i.e. living creatures were created as distinct kinds, with some variation in height and weight, but fully functioning penguins that show no sign of having been anything else. The only change in penguins revealed by fossils is that they were once taller and more slender, but only the “chubby little dudes” have survived, probably caused by the coming of the ice cold mentioned first in the days of Job (see chap 6ff). (Ref. birds, ornithology, palaeontology)

Evidence News 14 March 2012

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