Wednesday

Prehistoric Predatory Penguins

Penguins are, generally speaking, very cute little aquatic birds - yes they are birds, even though seeing them waddle around (or dancing with Dick Van Dyke) makes that sometimes seem doubtful. They also can't fly in the air anymore, although they can and do whiz around gracefully and quickly underwater.

Even though there are still some large penguins, such as the Emperor, most species these days are a non-threatening foot or two tall. A badass penguin might be something as tall as a man and weighing over 200 pounds. Now that could knock the wind out of you in the water if it felt threatened.

There were such penguins in our prehistoric past, and the latest fossil discovery (named Kumimanu biceaeis an impressive example of such a giant specimen at around 5 feet 7 inches tall, with a long beak.
Kumimanu wasn’t just exceptionally big; it also ranks among the oldest penguin fossils yet found. Both its age and its size make Kumimanu important to understanding the astonishing transformation that turned a lineage of flying birds into flightless swimmers.
NYTimes


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