The news: Penguins are pretty adorable. But newly unearthed fossils have shown that the cuddly creatures from Happy Feet, cute animal videos and catching fish at the zoo had an Antarctic ancestor that stood over five feet tall and weighed a terrifying 250 pounds.
Palaeeudyptes klekowskii was basically the Hulk Hogan of penguins, measuring 6.63 feet from the tip of its toes to the end of its beak. Capable of swimming underwater for up to 40 minutes or more, it would have been a fearsome aquatic predator during its heyday 37-40 million years ago. Its closest living relative in size is the emperor penguin, which stands a comparatively paltry 1.1 meters and weighs about 110 pounds.
If you got in a fight with the so-called “mega penguin,” it would probably win. Now remember that penguins live in giant flocks and you’ve got a recipe for a bad monster movie.
This incredibly detailed image of an ant obtained at the ESRF’s ID19 beamline is based on a technique called X-ray grating interferometry, which provides high-sensitivity differential phase and dark-field (small angle X-ray scattering) signals. It therefore bears tremendous potential for imaging tiny density differences and structures at the nanoscale that produce low absorption contrast.