Story: Penguins

Fossilised penguin bones

Fossilised penguin bones

This sketch is from an 1869 paper by James Hector, director of the New Zealand Geological Survey. He describes fossilised penguin bones found by telegraphist James Duigan at Seal Rock, Woodpecker Bay, near Punakaiki on the West Coast. Hector calls these remains Palaeeudyptes antarcticus, the name given to the first penguin fossil ever found. However they are now known to belong to a different species. The outline (centre) of a femur of the living Fiordland crested penguin gives a sense of its size.

Using this item

Royal Society of New Zealand
Reference: James Hector, 'On the remains of a gigantic penguin.' Transactions and Proceedings of the New Zealand Institute 4 (1871): 347
Lithograph by John Buchanan

Permission of the Royal Society of New Zealand must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Lloyd Spencer Davis, 'Penguins - The penguin history of New Zealand', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/diagram/6396/fossilised-penguin-bones (accessed 21 October 2021)

Story by Lloyd Spencer Davis, published 12 Jun 2006, reviewed & revised 11 Jul 2016