Scientists at the Paracas National Reserve in Peru have discovered the fossil of a penguin that was five feet tall and weighed nearly twice as much as the Emperor penguin, the largest living penguin species.
The Inkayacu paracasenis, or Water King, sported a long black beak and brown and gray features — unique compared to the "tuxedo" appearance of modern penguins. The Water King lived in the Paracas region, on the Pacific coast south of Lima, 36 million years ago during the Eocene period.
The fossil, dubbed "Pedro" by scientists, is important in answering key questions about penguin evolution.
"Before this fossil, we had no evidence about the feathers, colors and flipper shapes of ancient penguins, " sad Julia Clarke, a palaeontologist at the University of Texas, and lead author of the study. "We had questions and this was our first chance to start answering them."