Fossil skeleton of prehistoric penguin reconstructed

March 1st, 2012 - 10:06 pm ICT by IANS  

London, March 1 (IANS) Scientists have reconstructed the fossil skeleton of a giant prehistoric penguin that stood over four feet tall, The Sun reported Thursday.

The 26 million-year-old bird dubbed Kairuku had a unique body shape with long wings, a slender build and a spear-like bill.

The first Kairuku bones were discovered 35 years ago in New Zealand by Ewan Fordyce, a professor of geology at New Zealand’s University of Otago.

He recently teamed up with Dan Ksepka, a research assistant professor at North Carolina State University, to reconstruct a skeleton from multiple sets of fossils, using a king penguin as a model.

The bird is about a foot taller than emperors - the largest modern-day penguin.

When Kairuku was alive, most of modern-day New Zealand was submerged beneath the ocean.

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