Extinct Penguin Was Tall Enough to Play in the NBA

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A penguin that lived more than 35 million years ago was the largest ever, and would stand twice as tall as today's largest penguin, according to new fossil evidence.

Palaeeudyptes klekowskii would have stood about 6 feet 6 inches tall and weighed around 250 pounds, according to analysis of new bones found on Seymour Island in Antarctica by an Argentinian museum researcher.

The newly discovered bones -- a partial wing and an ankle-and-foot-bone structure called the tarsometatarsus -- gave Carolina Acosta Hospitaleche, from the La Plata Museum in Argentina, a way to derive the height of the long-lost penguin giant.

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Today's largest penguin, the Emperor penguin, stands about 3 and a half feet tall, making it Spud Webb next to the Shaquille O'Neal that was P. klekowskii.

P. klekowskii lived during a goldilocks period for its kind -- "a wonderful time for penguins, when 10 to 14 species lived together along the Antarctic coast," Acosta Hospitaleche told New Scientist.

The new bones aren't the first ever found for P. klekowskii; Seymour Island contains no shortage of penguin fossils. But the new finds are the first to allow for such extrapolation of sheer, slam-dunking height.

via New Scientist