Shutterstock (2); Photo Illustration by Joseph Lin / Ladders
Back in prehistoric times, everything was a monster compared to today including human-sized penguins and parrots nearly the size of furry mascots.
Two recent fossilized bones discoveries in New Zealand have shed new light on the furry creatures we find loving today that were actual beasts roaming earth millions of years ago. Scientists in New Zealand found the remains of a giant parrot dubbed “Squawkzilla,” which stood three feet tall and weight around 15 pounds, according to a study.
Published in the journal Biology Letters, researchers first discovered two leg bones from the bird in 2008, but those were misidentified for another bird. They determined that the remains of Heracles inexpectatus were found in fossils up to 19 million years old. The bird likely lived in the early Miocene period, which ranges from 23 million to 16 million years ago.
“Heracles, as the largest parrot ever, no doubt with a massive parrot beak that could crack wide open anything it fancied, may well have dined on more than conventional parrot foods, perhaps even other parrots,” said Mike Archer, co-author of the study, in a press release.
Archer told National Geographic that Hercales inexpectatus was maybe eating other parrots. In comparison to today’s parrots, the bird is more than double the size.
March away from the really giant penguins
If “Squawkazilla” doesn’t scare you, how about the giant penguin that lived in the Paleocene Epoch between 66 and 56 million years ago?
A new species of gigantic penguin — C. Waiparensis — was discovered from fossils found in Waipara, New Zealand. The monster penguin, which stood at 5-feet-3 inches tall and weighed as much as 176 pounds, is believed to be one of the world’s oldest known penguin species, according to the study, published in Alcheringa: An Australasian Journal of Paleontology.
Compared to today’s largest living penguin — the Emperor Penguin — C. Waiparensis was nearly two-feet taller and resembled more of the (hallucination induced) famed penguin in Billy Madison what you see today at zoos.
The remains were discovered in 2018, according to researchers.
The New Zealand fauna now holds the world’s largest parrot, giant eagle, giant burrowing bat, the Moa and other giant penguins, according to a press release.