Giant penguins in Peru — in warmer climes 40 million years ago

Turns out that giant penguins lived in Peru 40 million years ago, confounding scientists who thought that such large flightless birds wouldn’t have been found in warmer climes that early.

Remains of one of the penguins found in Peru was a giant — five-feet tall with a long, sharp beak.

According to the news report:

Paleontologist Julia Clarke, assistant professor of marine, earth and atmospheric sciences at North Carolina State University, said she was surprised at the new find.

”This is the same age as the earliest penguins from South America. The only other record from the continent of that age is from the southernmost tip of the continent,” she said. ”The new finds indicate they reached equatorial regions much earlier than anyone previously thought.”

The big bird is larger than any penguin known today and the third largest known to have ever lived, she added.

It is particularly unusual for such a large penguin to have been living in a warm climate, she noted. ”In most cases, the larger individuals of a species or among related species are correlated with colder climes and higher latitudes.”

Sounds like scientific information about species, their habitat, and climate continues to evolve.