Penguin Evolution

  • Waimanu manneringi - 62 mya

    Waimanu manneringi - 62 mya
    The oldest penguin fossils date to between 60 million and 58 million years ago. This fossil is the waimanu manneringi, which lived in the early Paleoceneepoch of New Zealand, or about 62 mya. They are loon-like flightless birds with wings adapted for underwater travel. The wings are not as specialized for underwater travel as much as modern penguins' wings are, but the bones point to adaptation to underwater diving.
  • Perudyptes devriesi - 42 mya

    Perudyptes devriesi - 42 mya
    Meaning "Peruvian diver," Perudyptes was a bird close to the size of a modern-day King penguin. It shows that during the Eocene epoch, penguins were living near the equator.
    Perudyptes devriesi was adapted to be smaller than its predecessor in order to be more efficient in the water.
  • Palaeeudyptes - 40-30 mya

    Palaeeudyptes - 40-30 mya
    These are the first penguin fossils to be found. They stood between 43 and 55 inches tall. It had feathers and swimming length measures of 1.5 meters. They had long wings that propelled them underwater, but as penguins' diet became more and more dependent on fish, the penguins developed flippers. Flippers, which are paddlelike, help the penguin appear to "fly" through the water and catch fish quicker.
    Also, the dense bones of wings are solid and help the penguins overcome buyoncy.
  • Kairuku waitaki - 27 mya

    Kairuku waitaki - 27 mya
    This species had longer wings than modern day penguins and could bend them more at the elbows. It was about 5 feet tall and weighed about 130 pounds!