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Human-sized Penguin Lived in New Zealand

The largest penguin species is the emperor penguin, which can reach 48 inches (122 cm) tall. But 60 million years ago, the monster penguin -yes, that's what they're calling it- of New Zealand would have made the emperor look short. Fossilized leg bones of a penguin found in North Canterbury indicate this bird was about 1.6 meters tall -that's 63 inches, or 5'3"!

"This is one of the largest penguin species ever found," Paul Scofield, the museum's senior curator, told the BBC. It was specific to the waters of the Southern Hemisphere, he added.

Penguins are thought to have become this big because large marine reptiles disappeared from the oceans, around the same time that dinosaurs disappeared.

"Then, for 30 million years, it was the time of the giant penguins," Mr Scofield said.

That's one large woggin. But it's not completely out of character among the many megafauna species of prehistoric New Zealand, including other big penguins. Read about the monster penguin at BBC News.  -via reddit

(Image credit: Canterbury Museum)

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