KOMPAS.com – Researchers claim to find striking similarities in the bones of ancient penguin fossils from New Zealand with those found in the northern hemisphere.
The New Zealand giant penguin is known to have lived 62 million years ago, and based on a study published in Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research, apparently this penguin has doppelgangers.
The discovery of the same ancient giant penguin fossil was also found in Japan, the United States and Canada, but much younger, namely Plotopterids.
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The similarities between the ancient Plotopterid fossils and penguins
Launch PhysOn Wednesday (1/7/2020), scientists have identified striking similarities between the wanted fossil bones and the bones of younger bird groups in the Northern Hemisphere.
Paleontologists, previously, have found fossils of monster penguins in Waipara, North Canterbury.
They have also identified nine species, ranging from small penguins, as they are known today to Yellow-eyed Penguins to giant ones with a height of 1.6 meters.
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Whereas Plotopterids lived in the northern hemisphere, with the first species appearing between 37 and 34 million years ago.
Their fossils have been found at a number of sites in North America and Japan. Like penguins, these birds use wings like fins to swim in the sea.
This research was conducted by several researchers, including Dr. Gerald Mayr from the Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum, Frankfurt with James Goedert of the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture and the University of Washington, United States and Dr. Paul Scofield and Dr. Vanesa De Pietri from Canterbury Museum Curators.
The researchers found ancient plotopterids and penguins to have the same long beak, with nostrils such as slits, chest and shoulder bones similar.
Understand the function of bird wings for swimming
Researchers reveal this similarity shows that Plotopterids and giant penguins look very similar.
Scientists assess this study might help understand how birds begin to use their wings to swim rather than to fly.
The similarity in the anatomy of the body identified indicates that these two groups of bird species were strong swimmers at that time.
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These wings allow their bodies to be pushed underwater to find food.
The earliest penguins, 62 million years ago, were known to swim in tropical seas that nearly submerged the land that is now New Zealand.
However, unlike penguins, which can survive into the modern era, the last plotopterid species was extinct around 25 million years ago.
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Some species from both groups can grow to a very large body size.
In fact, the largest known Plotopterid has a length of more than 2 meters, while some giant penguins, reaching 1.6 meters in height.
“Both ancient penguins and plotopterids are examples of convergent evolution, when organisms that are far apart develop the same morphological nature under similar environmental conditions,” Dr. De Pietri.