Largest penguin ever discovered was 160kg monster weighing as much as a gorilla

Giant monster penguins were around the same size as an adult gorilla and roamed the Earth 57 million years ago.

Called Kumimanu Fordycei, the legend of these 160kg beasts has resurfaced after fossilised bones were recently found in boulders in North Otago, New Zealand.

And it is now believed that the giant beasts lived around five to 10 million years after dinosaurs were wiped from the face of the planet.

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The fossil found in New Zealand is the largest one ever found.

Dr Daniel Field, form Cambridge University's department of Earth sciences said: “Fossils provide us with evidence of the history of life, and sometimes that evidence is truly surprising.

“Our new species, Kumimanu fordycei, is the largest fossil penguin ever discovered.

“At approximately 350 pounds, it would have weighed more than basketball player Shaquille O'Neal at the peak of his dominance.

“Kumimanu fordycei would have been an utterly astonishing sight on the beaches of New Zealand 57 million years ago, and the combination of its sheer size and the incomplete nature of its fossil remains makes it one of the most intriguing fossil birds ever found.”

Using laser scanners to create digital models of the bones hey found, the experts realised that the giant penguins could have weighed at least a whopping 158kg, which itself is several times heavier than current Emperor Penguins.

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The size of the beast, and the reason for its survival over such a long period, could have given it a competitive edge against predators, another expert said.

Daniel Ksepka, a curator at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich said: “A bigger penguin could capture larger prey, and more importantly it would have been better at conserving body temperature in cold waters.

“It is possible breaking the 100lb size barrier allowed the earliest penguins to spread from New Zealand to other parts of the world.”

No other fossils of this size have been found anywhere else in the world, so it is not yet know where the penguin would have migrated to when the time came.

More investigations are ongoing.

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