Otago University paleontologist Ewan Fordyce shows where a fossilised bone fits a reconstructed model of an ancient Waimanu penguin. In 2006, research showed these penguins, found in rocks near Canterbury’s Waipara River, to be 60–62 million years old. As dinosaurs became extinct 65 million years ago, this suggests that ancestors of penguin species alive today (and many groups of living birds) lived alongside dinosaurs. This find challenges contemporary theories that most modern birds evolved after the dinosaurs became extinct.
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