New Zealand was once home to a breed of penguin taller than an adult man and weighing more than 100kg, researchers have discovered.
Scientists on Tuesday announced they had identified fossil remains found in Oamaru in 2004 as belonging to an ancient giant penguin that lived about 60 million years ago.
"It would have been very impressive: as tall as many people, and a very solid, muscly animal built to withstand frequent deep dives to catch its prey," Te Papa vertebrate curator Alan Tennyson said.
"It would not have been the kind of bird that someone could catch alive. It would have been considerably more powerful than a person."
The research, published in Nature Communications, is the work of researchers at the Te Papa, the Senckenberg Research Institute and Canterbury Museum.
The bird - dubbed Kumimanu - lived long before Antarctica's glaciation, when New Zealand was subtropical.
"It's a common myth that penguins only live in very cold environments such as the Antarctic region," Mr Tennyson
The asteroid that doomed the dinosaurs 66 million years ago also eliminated the large marine reptiles that dominated the seas, clearing the way for fish-eating divers like penguins.
The largest currently living penguin is the emperor penguin, which grows to about 1.2 metres tall.
The only other ancient penguin yet discovered that is bigger than the newly-identified bird had only been identified through a leg bone.