Our very own FUPS member and Flinders University Palaeontology PhD student, Jacob Blokland, has recently published his first, first-authored paper on the work conducted during his masters at the University
of Canterbury, New Zealand. In the paper, a new species of ancient penguin is described from fossil material discovered on Chatham Island in the Paleocene age Takatika Grit fossil deposit. This penguin is the first species from this time to show striking similarities with the penguins of today, including their smaller body-size compared to the giant penguins roaming the Paleocene oceans, and their foot bone proportions. This species gives strong evidence for a rapid diversification of penguins as non-volant piscivores following the mass extinction event at the end of the Cretaceous period.
Kupoupou stilwelli- Image by Jacob Blokland
The paper has received a lot of media attention with an appearance in The Conversation ( https://theconversation.com/happy-6ft-ancient-penguins-were-as-tall-as-people-weve-discovered-the-species-that-started-the-downsizing-trend-128546). If you are interested in reading the paper, follow this link ( https://palaeo-electronica.org/content/2019/2773-chatham-island-penguins ).