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Linux Science

Paleontologists Unearth Giant Fossilized Penguin 124

Posted by Soulskill
from the syfy-already-working-on-a-horror-movie dept.
Ponca City, We Love You writes "The BBC reports that scientists have discovered the 36-million-year-old fossil of a penguin nearly five feet tall and almost twice the weight of an Emperor Penguin, the largest living species. 'The heavier the penguin, the deeper it dives,' says Julia Clarke, a palaeontologist at the University of Texas. 'If that holds true for any penguins, then the dive depths achieved by these giant forms would've been very different.' The bird, named Inkayacu paracasensis, or water king, lived during the late Eocene period and had a long, straight beak, much longer than that of its modern relatives. But, most surprisingly, the giant penguin's feathers were brown and gray, distinct from the black 'tuxedo'" Reader SpuriousLogic notes that it's also getting easier to keep an eye on modern penguins, since Google has extended Street View to Antarctica.
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Paleontologists Unearth Giant Fossilized Penguin

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  • by rossdee (243626)

    Why aren't there giant penguins around today? It must be due to global warming...

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Why aren't there giant penguins around today? It must be due to global warming...

      While rossdee was clearly trolling with his comment, his subject line actually does hit the nail right on the head. The reason why giant penguins aren't around today is precisely because the climate has changed to one that isn't suitable for them.
      • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

        The reason why giant penguins aren't around today is precisely because the climate has changed to one that isn't suitable for them.

        Which should serve as a warning...

        So short of being killed off by humans, the only reason a species becomes extinct is because of climate change?

        • Clearly, this is proof that humans have invented Time Machines in the form of SUVs. Eventually, that's going to change the climate in the past.

        • I'm not worried really. I'm pretty short when it comes to people. Once all the basketball players die I'll start to be concerned.
        • by riverat1 (1048260)

          Of course climate change is not the only reason species go extinct. Individual species go extinct for all sorts of reasons.

          But there have been several mass extinction events in the past that global climate change played a role in. Even if it was an asteroid strike or a flood basalt volcanic eruption that was the specific cause the result was climate changes that species couldn't adapt to.

        • by miketee (513478)

          Clearly not. Being out-competed, disease, various disasters, etc, can do a species in. Of course some disasters could be considered as rapid/local/global climate change.

      • by Dabido (802599)

        While rossdee was clearly trolling with his comment, his subject line actually does hit the nail right on the head. The reason why giant penguins aren't around today is precisely because the climate has changed to one that isn't suitable for them.

        Do you have any evidence for that? It might be that they moved too slow on land and made excellent meals for predators at the time. Or perhaps they even evolved into the Emperor penguins of today, because they might have started to get smaller (they only need to lose a foot in size). The article does state '...evidence of a rich diversity of giant penguin species in the late Eocene period of low-latitude Peru.' so there may have been competition amongst penguin species for food supplies which ended up wi

    • by durrr (1316311)
      They ate all the neanderthals, ran out of food and went extinct.
    • by Sulphur (1548251)

      Why aren't there giant penguins around today?

      Brown feet that did not go with the tuxedo motif?

    • Why aren't there giant penguins around today? It must be due to global warming...

      Nah, they've just been working on trimming the code a lot. If you thought the Linux kernel's bloated NOW, you don't know what they had before.

    • Why aren't there giant penguins around today?

      Because the newer compact models could fit into smaller spaces?

    • Why aren't there giant penguins around today?

      Because they created too much gas....

  • by Anonymous Coward

    And this relates to Linux... how?

    • by maxwell demon (590494) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @08:12AM (#33769704) Journal

      When they analyzed that penguin's DNA, they found that it contained a Linux kernel.

    • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @09:10AM (#33769910) Journal

      Lets face it, Apple with a bite out of it might be a clever logo but it is hardly going to get "Awh's" from the girls is it. And the windows logo? Most people don't even know what it is. Those who know fear to mention it afraid of any linkage between broken windows, the fragility of glass and MS software.

      But Linux, we got the tuxedoed one. And every single time penguins are in the news, we can link it to linux. And giant killer penguins are awesome things!

      Oh yeah, I forgot the BSD people. A naked underaged devil. Least said...

    • From the summary:

      But, most surprisingly, the giant penguin's feathers were brown and gray

      Clearly that means Ubuntu's color-scheme of brown (older releases) and purple/gray (newer releases) are just devolutions of GNU/Linux into a distribution twice the size of any other. Duh!

    • It's Tux’s grandmarm.
  • Were these giant penguins blind and albino?

  • clone it! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 02, 2010 @07:27AM (#33769552)

    We need to clone it. We need 5ft killer penguins with long beaks and mean attitudes in our fight against proprietary software.

  • "Reader SpuriousLogic notes that it's also getting easier to keep an eye on modern penguins, since Google has extended Street View to Antarctica." A penguin waved at me! How polite.
  • Didn't I see this on a Monty Python episode? Except, the penguin was more like 50 feet high . . .

  • and... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Nrrqshrr (1879148)
    In a related news, archeologists excavated a giant window in northern Canada. More at eleven...
  • ...Go, Go, PengZilla!
  • How soon... (Score:4, Funny)

    by drooling-dog (189103) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @07:55AM (#33769630)

    ...before we start seeing pictures of Jesus riding one of these?

  • Reader SpuriousLogic notes that it's also getting easier to keep an eye on modern penguins, since Google has extended Street View to Antarctica.

    Not so much "street view", more like a "tourist with a camera taking photos of penguins along with some other tourists view".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 02, 2010 @08:01AM (#33769660)

    Imagine cleaning up after a Beowulf cluster of those...

  • When I saw the tux icon and the fossil tag and immediately thought free /open source software-il. What's wrong with me?
  • In other news... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Big penguins in the past doesn't seem to be totally unheard of. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palaeeudyptinae

  • The fossil was uncovered when a large remnant of what appears to be a pre-historic version of a chair was removed from the top of its head.

    The chair was carved out of stone.

  • by Goody (23843) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @08:14AM (#33769710) Journal

    But, most surprisingly, the giant penguin's feathers were brown and gray, distinct from the black 'tuxedo

    Why is that surprising? It was 36 million years ago. There were big furry elephants and lizards the size of houses in prehistoric times.

  • Finally (Score:5, Funny)

    by penguinchris (1020961) <penguinchris.gmail@com> on Saturday October 02, 2010 @08:24AM (#33769746) Homepage

    Finally, I have reason to point out that despite this being slashdot, I didn't choose this name because I like linux (although I do, the name came from before I started using it or signed up for slashdot), I chose it because I like penguins!

    I have a degree in geology but never took any paleontology courses... I knew I should have, then I'd be able to comment on this important scientific discovery... er... make that, this important... linux development? I'm confused.

    • by jd (1658)

      It is entirely in-line with the discovery of the Norwegian Blue parrot which was, indeed, dead. Very. Though nailing a fossil to the perch might have been difficult.

  • Looks like (Score:5, Funny)

    by ZirconCode (1477363) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @08:52AM (#33769840)
    Looks like we horribly miss-calculated the year of the penguin!
  • OK, so how is the discovery of a new penguin species in any way relevant to Linux? What was the submitter (or the editor) smoking?

    • Re:Linux? (Score:4, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 02, 2010 @09:09AM (#33769900)

      It's all related, man. Penguins... Tux... Linux... Linus.... The government doesn't want you to know The Truth. There's some bizarre shit going down with the penguins of the world. I think - based on years of academic research - that the REAL Atlantis was actually the Penguin Homeland. I think Linus knows, too. I think he was sent into the future - OUR TIME, MAN - to teach the world the firm-but-loving discipline of Penguinism. The Singularity will only be possible because of Linux. THINK ABOUT IT. Penguin-powered Singularity. News stories like this are just preparing the world to accept the fact that our planet was once dominated by Penguin Overlords. Haven't you ever seen the MEN IN BLACK? Don't they look like penguins?! They're coming back, man. MEN IN BLACK = TUXEDOS = TUX. They are the Penguin Overlords' invasion force. Ever see that episode of Star Trek Voyager "Distant Origin?" It's like that! But instead of dinosaurs, it's penguins. They're coming back, man. There's a distant planet filled with penguins and they are just waiting to come back and

      • by Culture20 (968837)

        They're coming back, man. There's a distant planet filled with penguins and they are just waiting to come back and

        and what? Are you okay? Please respond. Should I wait for the penguin on the telly?

    • by nikomo (1338131)
      I believe he was smoking rotten apples and broken windows.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ddxexex (1664191)
      It's the easiest way to put a picture of a penguin in the summary. Why put a special picture of a penguin in when linux automagically gives you a penguin picture?
  • "Holy shitballs Ricky, they discovered a PANSQUANCH!!"

  • Its a sign for this year will be the year of linux on the desktop.
  • Oh, noes!!! That's Tux's great grandpa removed 800 times, at least.
  • Oblig.. (Score:3, Funny)

    by x1n933k (966581) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @11:52AM (#33770756) Homepage
    I for one welcome our new Giant Penguin Overlords...
  • Enthusiastically. Let me tell you why.

    I'm always interested to see a new discovery like this in the Eocene.

    The Eocene is such a cool epoch (and by cool I mean hot, followed by less hot) that I get excited whenever there's something newly discovered. In part because through modern technology, it really isn't so remote.

    Through the miracle of anthropomorphic global warming the kind of world in which creatures like this thrived is within reach of our descendants, possibly within living memory.

    Tropics replacing

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by TempeTerra (83076)

      You mean 'anthropogenic' warming. You shouldn't call the warming 'anthropomorphic', it hates that.

    • Whenever people bleat about climate change and talk about the wonders of carbon sequestration I think about the hadrosaurs (duck-billed, herbivorous dinosaurs).

      They lived in huge migratory herds. Their nesting grounds have been found; thousands of huge nests in which they laid their eggs. The hatchings grew at an enormous rate, becoming ready to accompany the adults on very long migratory walks within months of hatching.

      The growth rate of these things really struck me; where does all that dinosaur muscle an

      • by riverat1 (1048260)

        If you want to give it several million years to evolve the world you describe might be ok. If we force the change in less than 1000 years the main result is a mass extinction that takes a million or more years to recover from. That leave humans with much less diversity in the natural resources available. The modern equivalent of hadrosaurs would probably take at least 10,000 years or more to evolve.

        • If you want to give it several million years to evolve the world you describe might be ok

          Yeah sure, I try to take a long-term view of things.

          People are so short sighted; democracies can only plan one election cycle ahead (4, maybe 8 years), dictatorships only a generation ahead (if that, but usually more far-sighted than democracies).

          You got to see the big picture!

  • I think this penguin was first discovered by geologist William Dyer from the Miskatonic University. Shoggoths, fishmen and madness cannot be far behind.

  • And it would CRUSH a telly! (Obligatory Monty Python reference)
  • Penguin Computing had foretasted this:

    http://www.commodore.ca/misc/jokes/Linux-vs-Microsoft.jpg [commodore.ca]

  • Actually, it seems that apples are a bit older: "The genera of Maloid Rosaceae radiated an estimated 48-50 million years ago (Campbell et al. 2007)" (Source) [toronto.edu]
  • I really love the fact that this is posted as Linux news.
  • batman killed it in 1992 [wikipedia.org]

  • coming soon to a theater near you.

  • But, most surprisingly, the giant penguin's feathers were brown and gray, distinct from the black 'tuxedo'

    Surprise, surprise! A fossil is rock-colored! Maybe the original bird that got replaced by the fossil material was black and white?

    • by riverat1 (1048260)

      If you RTFA you see the color of the plumage was determined from microscopic structures in the fossilized feathers, the same structures that determine the color of modern birds feathers.

  • Brown and gray? After 36 million years you can still see the color? Quick, analize the pigment for house-paint. "You won't have to repaint for MILLIONS of years!!"
  • I've got nothing to say, I just wanted to see my user name in this article.
  • No pics? I'm shocked. Here's one. [premiere.com]

...there can be no public or private virtue unless the foundation of action is the practice of truth. - George Jacob Holyoake

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