It was a slender bird, with long wings and a spear-like bill to catch swift ocean prey. And scientists say the first glimpse of the extinct giant penguin species was worth the 26 million-year wait.
Experts from New Zealand and the United States reconstructed a fossil skeleton of one of the giant sea birds to reveal a body shape unique from known penguin species with features that have them describing it as one elegant bird.
The bird they dubbed Kairuku — Maori for “diver who returns with food” — stood about 4 feet 2 inches (1.3 meters) tall and lived in the Oligocene period, about 26 million years ago. The research on Kairuku was published this week in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.
The first Kairuku bones were discovered 35 years ago in New Zealand by Ewan Fordyce, a professor of geology at New Zealand’s University of Otago. He recently teamed with Dan Ksepka, a research assistant professor at North Carolina State University, to reconstruct a skeleton from multiple sets of fossils, using a king penguin as a model.
TVNL Comment: Please, please don't show this article to the GOP presidential candidates who deny evolution and insist that the universe began 6,000 years ago. It would totally confuse them...and they are already confused enough.