Home World US & Canada New Zealand 'monster penguins' had Northern Hemisphere doppelgangers, researchers say

New Zealand ‘monster penguins’ had Northern Hemisphere doppelgangers, researchers say

Beast penguins that resided in New Zealand 62 million years ago had doppelgangers in Japan, the U.S.A. and Canada, according to a brand-new research study.

For the research study released Monday in the Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research, researchers determined similarities in between the penguins’ fossilized bones and those of a group of much younger Northern Hemisphere birds, called plotopterids.

These similarities suggest plotopterids and ancient penguins looked quite similar and might give scientists insight into how the birds started to utilize their wings to swim instead of fly.

The earliest recognized penguins swam in tropical seas that almost immersed the land we currently referred to as New Zealand. Paleontologists found the fossilized bones of these ancient waddlers, a few of which were as big as 5-feet-tall, at Waipara, North Canterbury.

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The giant penguins, like these Kumimanu, that resided in Aotearoa New Zealand around 60 million years ago bore a striking resemblance to some plotopterids.
( Mark Witton)

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Plotopterids established in the Northern Hemisphere about 37 to 34 million years earlier, scientists say, and they have actually been discovered at sites in North America and Japan.

Although they shared these physical traits with ancient and modern penguins, plotopterids are more closely related to gannets and cormorants than they are to penguins.

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Plotopterids like these Copepteryx grew to enormous sizes.
( Mark Witton)

” These birds progressed in various hemispheres, countless years apart, but from a range you would be hard-pressed

The giant penguins, like these Kumimanu, that resided in Aotearoa New Zealand around 60 million years ago bore a striking similarity to some plotopterids.
( Mark Witton)

to tell them apart,” Paul Scofield, a Canterbury Museum manager, stated. “Plotopterids looked like penguins, they swam like penguins, they most likely ate like penguins– but they weren’t penguins.”

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