OK, just imagine this for a second. You have watched penguins on television. You have perhaps stood and watched penguins at a zoo.
They are, at times, small, rather cute looking in their own way, and they often look rather clumsy with an apparent preference for falling over.
Should We Be Scared?
Well, perhaps if you are a fish and you are their dinner, but not us humans. However, what would you think about them if you knew that the penguins that we have today are like the little brother of something that is bigger, scarier, and sounds as if it has come straight out of a Hollywood horror movie?
Would that change your mind?
Would the incredible 7 foot tall mega penguin make you think twice about this bird? You bet it would!
You can relax though as you are never going to physically come across such a species and boy should you be glad.
You see this giant penguin was alive here on earth millions of years ago, around 40 million to be exact, and the story has come to light thanks to the discovery of fossils in Antarctica by Argentinian scientists.
This 7 foot tall beast of a penguin would dwarf its modern day brother as the Emperor penguin can generally grow to a maximum height of 4ft 5 inches and even that can be a bit intimidating the first time you see them.
Imagine a penguin that is bigger than the majority of basketball players, but with a beak.
Oh yeah, and they believe that it would have weighed up to 19 stone as well, so how on earth did it manage to waddle along in that all too familiar style?
Scientists have also, somehow, worked out from just a few bones that this mega penguin could stay underwater for up to 40 minutes at a time. It is apparently due to just how mega this penguin actually is, which had to mean that it would have a huge set of lungs that could take in and store a massive amount of oxygen allowing it to stay submerged for such a long period of time.
If the penguins that we have today could do that, then all of those nature shows would be quite boring as they would all just vanish for the entire episode.
The amazing thing is that the scientists do only have a few bones so far from what must have clearly been a massive skeleton. However, from the bones that they do have, the conclusion is that it had big feet and big wings, but then surely at this size it would have big everything?
Gone would be the idea of them somehow being a bit cuddly because with a 7ft tall penguin there is more chance of you becoming the item being cuddled whether you like it or not.
Admit it, would you put up a fight if a massive penguin came up to you to put its wing around your shoulder? Yeah, probably not as it could be safer to just accept what is going on.
What Happened To Them?
It obviously did not just shrink overnight into the penguin that we, thankfully, know and love today. Evolution is a funny thing as some species die out whilst others adapt to their surroundings in much the same way as us humans did.
- Could it have been a change in the environment that made this giant penguin extinct?
- Was it wiped out by a severe ice age?
- Maybe it got too warm?
- Did it run into difficulties with its food supply since it would need a lot to sustain itself?
- Was it a combination of more than one thing?
So far scientists have not really commented on this, but clearly they will be working on suitable theories that will indeed explain what happened to this mega penguin.
So the next time you see penguins in any way, shape, or form just be glad that you will never come across the incredible 7 foot tall mega penguin. National Geographic would certainly need to have a rethink about some of their programs and any predator today would certainly have a bit of a fight on their hands.