by Tessa Koumoundouros
September 16, 2021
https://www.sciencealert.com/school-kid ... -long-legs
(Science Alert) Ancient New Zealand has been home to an incredible array of absurdly large birds. This has included a waist-high parrot, nicknamed Squawk-zilla (Heracles inexpectatus) – the largest parrot ever known on Earth, possibly hunting for flesh around 20 million years ago.
Two-meter-high flightless Moa also made their home there, along with their predator, Haast's Eagles (Hieraaetus moorei), with a monstrous 3-meter wingspan, around 2 million years ago.
Now researchers have added a new giant penguin to this gloriously super-sized menagerie – one discovered by a lucky group of school kids back in 2006.
"It's sort of surreal to know that a discovery we made as kids so many years ago is contributing to academia today. And it's a new species, even!" said Steffan Safey, who was one of the children on the Hamilton Junior Naturalist Club's field trip at the time. "Clearly the day spent cutting it out of the sandstone was well spent!"
Within a now solidified layer of what once was muddy siltstone, the students discovered the fossilized remains of the towering penguin's torso, leg, and arm bones.