Found in 2006, the fossil remains are so far classified as belonging to a new species of giant penguin.
Since 2006, a group of children who were carrying out activities in a children’s camp discovered the aforementioned fossil. However, so far it has been determined that this corresponds to a new species of giant penguin.
Specialists from Massey University have revealed that the fossil remains found by a group of children in Kawhia, New Zealand , belonged to a species of giant penguin whose age is estimated between 27.3 and 34.6 million years.
This is more than confirmed, as it is published in the Journal of vertebrade paleontology . The penguin has already been classified, receiving the name Kairuku waewaeroa.
According to specialists, the new species of giant penguin is related to other similar species, such as the Kairuku waitaki and the Kairuku grebneffi . The difference lies in the length of the legs, hence its name ( waewaeroa means “long legs”).
And how big was the giant penguin? Well, so say “what a barbarian, it was huge”, well no … although surely it would be a scare to run into the 1.38 meter high penguin … being that some penguins today (such as the Eudyptula minor ) barely reach the 35 centimeters tall (maximum).
The tallest penguin that can be seen these days is the emperor penguin, which ranges between 1.1 and 1.3 meters in height … almost the same as the Kairuku waewaeroa.
To determine that it is a species never known before, the specialists made comparisons with other fossil bones, as well as with modern species. In addition, its peculiarity was confirmed through genome analysis, determining that this penguin had its origin in a region located between New Zealand and Australia.
” It is good news that two different methods coincide in these results,” said Andrés Barbosa, a researcher at the National Museum of Natural Sciences of Spain, according to La Jornada.
The fossil remains of the New Zealand giant penguin were found in 2006 by a group of children who were in a children’s camp and, as part of a task, were looking for fossils of hedgehogs.
“There were dark orange shapes in the rock, like oxidized metal (…) we didn’t know what it was about, but it was much larger than any other fossil we had found before, ” recalls Esther Dale, who – according to El País reports – At that time he was 15 years old and was part of the group that found the now classified as a giant penguin.