Nugget of Knowledge: Prehistoric penguins

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Len Rome's Daily Feature of Little Known Facts

(WYTV) – In 2014, researchers in Antarctica found a fossil of a prehistoric penguin a little bit larger than today’s typical penguin.

The tallest and heaviest penguin today, the Emperor penguin, stands about four feet, five inches tall.

The penguin species that lived millions of years ago would have dwarfed today’s Emperor penguin. It’s the Godzilla of the penguin world.

A team of researchers from a museum in Argentina found the bones on Seymour Island. That’s part of a chain of 16 major islands around the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, closest to South America.

The area is known for its penguin bones. In prehistoric times, it would have been much warmer than it is today with 10 to 14 different penguin species living together.

This bigger penguin could dive underwater to hunt fish for much longer periods of time compared to smaller penguins. Archeologists believe up to 40 minutes.

So how large are we talking?

From the size of the bones, archeologists and biologists estimate this colossus penguin as about six feet, seven inches tall with a weight around 250 pounds.

Put it this way: you’re a fish and along comes a hungry penguin after you about the size of LeBron James.

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