Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Buff, 5-Foot Prehistoric Penguin Found

Human-sized, muscular penguins with enormous beaks thrived in sunny Peru 36 million years ago, according to a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Standing at 5 feet tall, Icadyptes salasi was preceded in Peru by yet another newly identified penguin species, Perudyptes devriesi, which lived there 42 million years ago and was about the same size (3 feet tall) as modern king penguins.

Since both were among the world's earliest known penguins, they represent an evolutionary stage somewhere between flying, winged birds and the waddling, flippered penguins of today.

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