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Ancient ‘monster penguin’ is largest ever discovered and weighed as much as a gorilla

Ancient penguins ‘would have been an utterly astonishing sight on the beaches of New Zealand’, says researcher

Andy Gregory
Thursday 16 February 2023 08:52 GMT
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Life reconstructions of Kumimanu fordycei and Petradyptes stonehousei
Life reconstructions of Kumimanu fordycei and Petradyptes stonehousei (Simone Giovanardi)

Scientists have discovered a new “monster” penguin species, which lived 57 million years ago and was three times the size of its predecessors alive today.

Weighing nearly 160kg, the same as an adult gorilla, the fossilised bones of Kumimanu fordycei was discovered in 57 million-year-old beach boulders in North Otago, on New Zealand’s South Island in 2017.

Kumimanu is an existing genus, which means “monster bird”, while the second part of the name honours Dr Ewan Fordyce, who is said to have been instrumental in building New Zealand’s paleontology programme.

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