Published on February 28th, 2012 | by James Johnson0
Attack Of The Giant Penguin! Fossil In New Zealand May Be Biggest Ever Constructed
It took 35 years to construct but a giant fossil penguin has finally been put together by researchers in New Zealand and it’s believed to be the biggest of its kind in existence.
Collected by Dr. Ewan Fordyce in 1977 the reconstruction of the animals bones didn’t begin until 2009 when Dr. Dan Ksepka of North Carolina State University and North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences colleague Dr. Paul Brinkman headed to New Zealand to help in the process.
Named Kairuku a word that loosely translates to “diver who returns with food” the shape of the giant penguin is different then any previously known species and is believed to have lived during the Oligocene period nearly 25 million years ago.
According to Dr. Ksepka:
“The location was great for penguins in terms of both food and safety. Most of New Zealand was underwater at that time, leaving isolated, rocky land masses that kept the penguins safe from potential predators and provided them with a plentiful food supply.”
Kairuku is rare because of it’s size but the geographical area during the same period was no stranger to penguins with at least five different species co-existing.
While big in stature the giant penguin was slender with long flippers and short, thick legs and feet while standing at approximately 4-feet-2 inches tall.
To reconstruct the giant penguin researchers used two separate fossils while using the skeletal system of a king penguin to guide their efforts.
Regardless of how the penguin was constructed one thing is for certain, it’s one giant bird.