Sunday, October 23, 2011


If you though the Emperor Penguin was the largest of all the Penguins, you'd be correct... sort of. While they dominate the size charts for all living species, they would have been dwarfed back in the Eocene. Today's animal, Anthropornis, is an extinct Penguin that stood six feet tall!

There are two identified species within the genus Anthropornis, A. nordenskjoldi and A. grandis. Their genus name translates to "Man Bird," and fossils have been found in New Zealand and on Seymour Island off of Antarctica. They lived between 45 and 37 million years ago.

Anthropornis lived an aquatic lifestyle as modern penguins do, but they had bent wings. This is a trait that they carried over from their flying relatives.

Fun fact about Anthropornis: they were indirectly mentioned in the H.P. Lovecraft novel At the Mountains of Madness. Six foot tall albino cave penguins!

Status : Extinct for 37 million years
Location : Australia, Antarctica, New Zealand
Size : Height up to 6ft (1.8m), Weight up to 200lbs (90kg)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Aves -- Order : Sphenisciformes
Family : Spheniscidae -- Genus : Anthropornis

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