New Giant Penguin Species Discovered By New Zealand School Kids

A new species of a prehistoric giant penguin has been identified by a team of researchers. The fossils were actually discovered by a group of schoolchildren 15 years ago in New Zealand.

In 2006, a group of school children from the Hamilton Junior Naturalist Club (JUNATS), a decades-old club for 10 to 18-year-olds who are “interested in all aspects of natural history,” were on a fossil-hunting field trip with fossil expert Chris Templer when they discovered something quite special, Massey University noted in a news release, adding that they actually found the fossilized bones of a giant penguin from millions of years ago.

The said fossils had been donated to the Waikato Museum by 2017, and a team of researchers from Massey University and Bruce Museum paid it a visit to analyze and 3D scan the bones. The researchers detailed their findings in their new study, published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology on Thursday, in which they determined that the fossils are actually of a new species.

“The holotype skeleton, discovered in Kawhia Harbour, North Island, New Zealand, is one of the most complete skeletons of a giant penguin yet uncovered,” the researchers wrote.

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