Ancient 176lb ‘monster penguin’ the size of a HUMAN found – and only evolved thanks to dinosaur extinction

Ancient 176lb ‘monster penguin’ the size of a HUMAN found – and only evolved thanks to dinosaur extinction

THE FOSSILISED remains of a giant penguin the size of a human have been found in New Zealand.

The bones suggest that the animal would have been 1.6 metres tall (5ft 3in) and could have weighed around 80kg (176lb).

Canterbury Museum

The penguin would have been about the same height as the average woman in the UK[/caption]

Today’s largest species of penguin is the Emperor Penguin, which stands at around 1.2 metres tall.

It is thought that giant penguins would have lived in the Paleocene Epoch period between 66 and 56million years ago.

The leg bones of this new species, called Crossvallia waiparensis, were discovered at a site famous for fossils in a small town called Waipara in North Canterbury last year.

An international team has since analysed them at Canterbury Museum and has dubbed the creature the “monster penguin”.

AFP or licensors

The species has been dubbed the “monster penguin”[/caption]

It can now be added to the list of lots of now-extinct giant animals that once roamed the Earth including giant parrots, eagles, bats and sloths.

Experts think that the giant penguin would have only live in the waters of the Southern Hemisphere.

As one of the largest penguin species ever found, it is thought to have grown to such a large size because it lived at a time when dinosaurs and large marine reptiles had disappeared.

Paul Scofield, senior curator of Canterbury Museum, told the BBC: “Then, for 30 million years, it was the time of the giant penguins.”

He added: “We think that at the time, animals were evolving very rapidly.

“Water temperatures around New Zealand were ideal back then, around 25C (77F) compared to the 8C we have now.”

It is thought that New Zealand would have been connected to Australia when the penguin was alive and Australia would have been connected to Antarctica.

The new species of extinct penguin is very similar to other fossilised remains found in Antarctica of the Crossvallia unienwillia prehistoric penguin.

Experts think the Crossvallia penguins would have relied on their large feet for swimming in the oceans alongside giant turtles and other strange creatures.

Extinction of giant penguins appears to correlate with the rise of their predators but no one can say for sure why they disappeared completely.

Giant animals that once roamed the Earth

Here's some scarily large extinct creatures…

  • Megalodon sharks – these giant sharks were three times as long as great whites, which are usually 3.5-6.4 metres, and 30 times as heavy
  • Megalodons are thought to have lived around 15.9 to 2.6million years ago and had over 200 huge teeth
  • Titanoboa cerrejonensis – this extinct giant snake species would have lived around 60million years ago and was twice as long as the largest modern day snake and weighed more than a tonne
  • Terror birds – formally known as Phorusrhacids, this group of flightless birds from around 60 to 2million years ago would have been three metres tall and could have swallowed a medium sized dog in one gulp

In other news, a creepy “zombie snail” with green and orange flashing horns has been caught on camera.

Scientists have discovered why two shark species glow in the dark.

And, scientists claim to have created the world’s first human-monkey hybrid in China.

Would you like to have met this huge penguin? Let us know in the comments…

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