Human-Size Penguin Fossils Discovered in New Zealand

A penguin in South Shetland Islands. (AFP / Eitan Abramovich)
A penguin in South Shetland Islands. (AFP / Eitan Abramovich)
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Human-Size Penguin Fossils Discovered in New Zealand

A penguin in South Shetland Islands. (AFP / Eitan Abramovich)
A penguin in South Shetland Islands. (AFP / Eitan Abramovich)

A human-size penguin fossil was discovered in New Zealand. The discovery has changed the thoughts scientists had on the bird’s evolution phases. Alan Tennyson, vertebrate curator at the Museum of New Zealand found the fossil in a 55-60 million-year-old rock on the South Island beach in 2004, the German news agency reported.

However, the excavation of the incomplete bone structure from the rock had to be delayed till the required technology was provided in 2015. Based on the bones’ size, scientists estimated that the penguin would be about 1.65 meters long –like a medium-height man- and would weigh up to 100 kg. The longest penguin at present is the Emperor penguin, which is 1.1 meters long and weighs 23 kilograms.

Tennyson told Radio New Zealand that the fossil has a great global importance because it comes from a period that directly follows dinosaurs’ extinction, and shows that the giant penguins were among the first penguins to exist. "That was not really known before," he added.

"There may be a link, as giant animals such as dinosaurs, non-flying dinosaurs and wild marine animals have all died during this period over 66 million years ago," he said.

"This may had left some space that allowed other organisms like these penguins to grow and fill the empty surfaces" he said.



Heat Wave in Greece Halts Visits to Acropolis

Tourists take a selfie in front of the Parthenon temple atop the Acropolis hill during a heatwave, in Athens, Greece, 11 June 2024. EPA/KOSTAS TSIRONIS
Tourists take a selfie in front of the Parthenon temple atop the Acropolis hill during a heatwave, in Athens, Greece, 11 June 2024. EPA/KOSTAS TSIRONIS
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Heat Wave in Greece Halts Visits to Acropolis

Tourists take a selfie in front of the Parthenon temple atop the Acropolis hill during a heatwave, in Athens, Greece, 11 June 2024. EPA/KOSTAS TSIRONIS
Tourists take a selfie in front of the Parthenon temple atop the Acropolis hill during a heatwave, in Athens, Greece, 11 June 2024. EPA/KOSTAS TSIRONIS

Authorities in Athens announced on Wednesday the closure of the Acropolis for five hours due to heat wave temperatures that also prompted many schools to close.
The ancient site in the Greek capital — which drew nearly 4 million visitors last year — was closed from midday till 5 p.m. as the temperature was set to reach 39 degrees Celsius (102 degrees Fahrenheit), The Associated Press reported.
Elementary schools and preschool classes were also canceled in parts of southern and central Greece where the temperatures were highest.
City authorities announced that garbage collection would also be halted for several hours Wednesday and that seven air-conditioned spaces would be opened to the public. Drones with thermal cameras were being used in Athens to coordinate the public health response, officials said.
Cooler weather is expected late Friday.

Greece is one of the most climate-impacted countries in Europe. Last year, rising temperatures fuelled deadly wildfires and erratic rains caused some of the worst flooding on record, both of which damaged crops and livelihoods.
Last winter was the hottest on record and rainfall was low, creating the conditions for more fires, scientists say.
Similar conditions were seen last year across much of southern Europe, including Portugal, France, Spain and Italy where fires caused dozens of deaths.
In Greece, fires began earlier than expected this year, including one in March.