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!