Fossilized giant penguin reveals unusual colors, sheds light on bird evolution

Thursday, September 30, 2010 - 14:28 in Paleontology & Archaeology

Paleontologists have unearthed the first extinct penguin with preserved evidence of scales and feathers. The 36-million-year-old fossil from Peru shows the new giant penguin's feathers were reddish brown and gray, distinct from the black tuxedoed look of living penguins. The fossil shows the flipper and feather shapes that make penguins such powerful swimmers evolved early, while the color patterning of living penguins is likely a much more recent innovation.

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