March of the Fossil Penguins

Fossil penguin discoveries and research

Success!

with 3 comments

Back in the lab, we have started preparing the penguin specimen collected from the Kokoamu Greensand.  As each grain of matrix is removed, more of the animal springs to life.  In the field, we noted that there were several wing bones exposed in the cliff face.  Preparation proved two of these bones to be the humerus (the main bone of the flipper) and the coracoid (part of the shoulder girdle).  But here was also a surprise.  One of the small pieces of bone we exposed in the field turned out to be part of the beak (upper right).  After preparing the area more extensively, we are now certain we have a spear-billed penguin.

It will take many more hours to reveal all the bones in the block.  Let’s hope there are more surprises in the block!

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Written by Dan Ksepka

December 19, 2011 at 9:10 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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3 Responses

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  1. What a great find! And very nice prep work. Congrats!

    NCMNS

    December 19, 2011 at 2:50 pm

  2. IT IS SO COOL U DISCOVERED THIS!!!!! Is it a species you already know or is it a new guy?

    keci

    December 20, 2011 at 8:40 am

  3. Thanks everyone – Keci, we are not sure if this specimen belongs to a new species of a known one yet. But, as soon as all of the bones are freed from the rock we will be able to compare it to the other fossils in the Otago University and Otago Museum collections and answer that question. This may take a few months for the most delicate parts of the skeleton.

    Dan Ksepka

    December 21, 2011 at 1:32 pm


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