An amateur paleontologist named Leigh Love discovered the bones of what turned out to be a huge penguin at the Waipara Greensand fossil site in North Canterbury, New Zealand last year. Her discovery led to further research that confirmed that the Waipara Greensand is in fact a hotbed for penguin remains that date around 65.6 to 55.8 million years ago.
The researchers discovered four other species there, but this latest one is “one of the largest penguin species ever found,” as confirmed by Paul Scofield, co-author of a new report in Alcheringa: An Australasian Journal of Palaeontology and senior curator at the Canterbury Museum in Christchurch, as BBC writes.
The penguin is dubbed Crossvallia Waparensis and its height is estimated to be around five feet two inches and its weight is estimated to be around 154-176 pounds. As you can tell, this is considerably larger than any current penguin species and actually closer to human size. The scientists believe it managed to grow so big thanks to a lack of predators.
It’s assumed that the species lived for around 30 million years before the big sea mammals arrived on the scene. The study authors assume that it was the competition with marine mammals that ultimately led to this penguin species’ extinction.