In the article about the biggest bird in history, we said that all animals that exist today are miniature copies of their ancestors. This is true – millions of years ago, giant sloths, sharks and other creatures lived on our planet. Numerous archeological findings indicate that penguins were no exception and that some of the ancient species of these birds were descended from an adult and weighed at least 50 kilograms. The remains of one of these species have recently been found in New Zealand. We think you would hardly want to meet a giant penguin face to face.
The remains were found in 2018 on the riverbank near the New Zealand town of Waypara. In particular, an amateur paleontologist named Lee Love managed to uncover the leg bones and something similar to a penguin fin. Scientists compared the remains to the bones of other penguin species and suggested that the representatives of the new species of penguins for science were about 160 centimeters tall, weighed about 80 kilograms and barely stood on two legs, but were excellent swimmers. The species was named in honor of the river Crossvallia waiparensis, on whose banks bones were found.
The biggest penguin in history
The ancient penguins, who lived about 66 to 56 million years ago, were much larger than the offspring that survived into our time. For comparison, the average body size of the emperor penguin is about 123 centimeters with a mass of 22 to 45 kilograms. However, a recently discovered species was not the largest in history. In fact, the remains of other ancient penguins were formerly found near the town of Waypara.
Comparison of human and penguin Crossvallia waiparensis
The largest penguin in the world belongs to the species Kumimanu biceae. The name of this species comes from the words "kumi" and "manu", which translate the Maori from the New Zealander language as "great mythological monster" and "bird". After the remnants of the humerus and several ribs were examined and compared to the skeleton of modern penguins, the scientists suggested that the growth of the old penguin was 177 centimeters and the weight 101 kilograms. In general, he grew up from an adult.
Comparison of human and penguin Kumimanu Biceae
Why were animals big before?
The scientists still can not answer this question exactly. It is believed that animals could reach gigantic proportions, since in ancient times there was much more pure oxygen on Earth. This conclusion was drawn in the observation of insects. It was found that in oxygen-rich regions insects such as dragonflies are very large.
Old penguin bones
In addition, there used to be a lot more food for animals on Earth. Herbivores actively planted food while predators hunted other well-fed animals. Due to climate change and the advent of humans, the amount of food dramatically decreased, so that animals could no longer provide enough energy to their huge bodies. In the course of evolution they became less and less.
Millions of years ago, even parrots were gigantic
The New Zealand territory is rich in minerals, so scientists often make interesting discoveries. For example, they recently discovered a new species of ancient parrot from meter height. Read more about this giant – you would hardly want such a "bird" sitting on your shoulder. Would you dare to approach her? Share your answer in the comments or in our telegram chat.