Story: Fossils

Oldest penguin

Oldest penguin

Otago University palaeontologist Ewan Fordyce shows where a fossilised bone fits in a 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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University of Otago

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How to cite this page:

Hamish Campbell, 'Fossils - Bird fossils', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 21 June 2024)

Story by Hamish Campbell, published 12 Jun 2006