Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Fossil remains of giant penguin found in Peru

The remains of a giant penguin which preferred the tropics to the southern oceans have been discovered by a team of scientists, according to the BBC. The fossilised bones of the bird, which lived some 36 million years ago, were discovered in Peru.

About 1.5 m (5 ft) tall, the penguin would have looked quite different from its modern-day cousins. It had a long, protracted skull and what its discoverers are describing as a grossly elongated beak that was spear-like in appearance.

The Icadyptes salasi penguin would dwarf all extant penguin, and would have stood head and shoulders even over the two largest species, Emperor and King Penguins.

Its well-preserved skeleton was discovered on the southern coast of Peru along with the remains of as many as four other previously undiscovered penguin species, all of which appear to have preferred the tropics over colder climes.

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