Giant penguin fossil discovered
October 01, 2010
WASHINGTON – (AP) Some prehistoric penguins could have been twice as large as the current Emperor, but without its elegant tuxedo. Investigators have discovered remains of a penguin 1.5 meters long (almost 5 feet) that inhabited the current territory of Peru almost 36 million years ago, and they also discovered fossilized feathers that show that at the time, this non-flying bird was mottled with reddish brown and gray. The report appeared Sept. 30 on Science Journal. The fossil analysis led to a new discovery about modern penguins, which raises questions about how they evolved their feathers to become distinguished swimmers. The specimen is one of the largest penguins to have lived, approximately twice as large as the Emperor penguin. The second species of giant penguins discovered in Peru was called Inkayacu paracasensis, King of the water, part of a group of extinct species that inhabited great part of the southern hemisphere. A stroke of luck helped paleontologists discover the feathers. A student from the excavation team, from the Museum of Natural History in Lima, discovered the foot of the fossil and noticed it had scales.