Well, it's that time of the week again! We only had a few guesses this week, and no one got it exactly right, but there were some close guesses! The two closest were Kristie C., who guessed an Adélie Penguin, and Masaki K. who guessed Cormorant. Well, the correct answer to last weeks challenge is Waimanu. Waimanu is the scientific name of the oldest known fossil penguin. Two species are known, and both of them were found on the South Island of New Zealand. One of the species, Waimanu manneringi, lived during the Paleocene, around 61.6 MYA; that means that the oldest known penguin was swimming the oceans only a few million years after the death of the dinosaurs! Although Waimanu manneringi is the oldest KNOWN fossil penguin, it by no means is the oldest penguin. In fact, it is quite likely that, were scientists to uncover a fossil that shows when penguins split off from the other orders of birds, we would not even recognize it as a penguin. Waimanu had undoubtedly already adapted to a fully non-aerial lifestyle, and almost certainly behaved much like modern penguins do when it comes to breeding on land, near the ocean.
Waimanu, the first penguin. (2010, January 30). Retrieved July 11, 2012, from https://fossilpenguins.wordpress.com/2010/01/30/waimanu-the-first-penguin/