‘Kariuku was an elegant bird by penguin standards, with a slender body and long flippers, but short, thick legs and feet,” says Lead scientist Dan Ksepka, North Carolina State University in the US.
Scientists have discovered that the Kariuku which is the Māori word for ‘diver who returns with food’ inhabited New Zealand 25 million years ago at a time when majority of the land was underwater and it provided the perfect environment for the large penguins to stay safe and feed.
The kariuku has been described as a tall, elegant penguin measuring over a metre tall, much slimmer than most penguins we see nowadays with longer beaks and flippers.
A reconstruction of the penguin was made from two separate fossil skeletons found. Scientists hope that this will lead to more knowledge about the evolution of giant penguins.
The findings are reported in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.
Image: Two Kairuku penguins come ashore, passing a stranded Waipatia dolphin. Artwork by Chris Gaskin, owner and copyright owner: Geology Museum, University of Otago.
Souce: Big Pond News