Lowe's penguin

Archaeospheniscus lowei Marples, 1952

Order: Sphenisciformes

Family: Spheniscidae

New Zealand status: Endemic

Conservation status: Extinct

Other names: Lowes penguin

 
 
 
Lowe's penguin. Part of holotype in Otago Museum, humerus 14 cm long, registration numbers GL407, C.47.20. Duntroon, Otago. Image © Otago Museum, Dunedin by Alan Tennyson

Lowe's penguin. Part of holotype in Otago Museum, humerus 14 cm long, registration numbers GL407, C.47.20. Duntroon, Otago. Image © Otago Museum, Dunedin by Alan Tennyson

Brian Marples (1952) created the genus Archaeospheniscus to include two previously undescribed New Zealand fossil penguin species: Lowe’s penguin and Lopdells’penguin. A third species from Seymour Island, off the Antarctic Peninsula, has since been added. The genus name means old penguin.

The New Zealand Archaeospheniscus penguins were large penguins of the Late Oligocene (27-25 million years ago). All the specimens referred to both species were found at Duntroon, North Otago. It is possible that they are all referable to a single species of variable size.

Lowe’s penguin was the smaller of the two Archaeospheniscus species. It was described from a nearly complete skeleton found by Brian Marples in 1943. The holotype (OM C.47.20) and a second referred specimen found in 1942 (a left femur, OM C.47.27) are held in Otago Museum.

The species name honours English surgeon and ornithologist Percy Roycroft Lowe (1870-1948), who published two papers on fossil penguins and their relationships.

Weblinks

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archaeospheniscus

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archaeospheniscus_lowei

References

Marples, B.J. 1952. Early Tertiary penguins of New Zealand. New Zealand Geological Survey, Paleontological Bulletin 20: 1-66.

Simpson, G.G. 1971. A review of the pre-Pleistocene penguins of New Zealand. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 144: 319-378.

Recommended citation

Miskelly, C.M. 2013. Lowe’s penguin. In Miskelly, C.M. (ed.) New Zealand Birds Online. www.nzbirdsonline.org.nz

Lowe's penguin

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