Marples' penguin

Palaeeudyptes marplesi Brodkorb, 1963

Order: Sphenisciformes

Family: Spheniscidae

New Zealand status: Endemic

Conservation status: Extinct

Other names: Marples penguin, Marple's penguin, Marples’s penguin

 
 
 
Marples' penguin. Holotype in Otago Museum, dorsal view, tarsometatarsus 8 cm long, registration numbers GL429, C.50.25.47. Burnside. Image © Otago Museum , Dunedin by Alan Tennyson

Marples' penguin. Holotype in Otago Museum, dorsal view, tarsometatarsus 8 cm long, registration numbers GL429, C.50.25.47. Burnside. Image © Otago Museum , Dunedin by Alan Tennyson

Pierce Brodkorb of the University of Florida, Gainesville, described Marples’ penguin from an associated part skeleton found at Burnside, near Dunedin. The specimen is considered to be of early Late Eocene age (38-36 million-years-old).

The Palaeeudyptes penguins were very large, with the smallest species being similar in size to an emperor penguin. Marples’ penguin was the largest member of the genus. A specimen from South Australia that Brodkorb assigned to this species was subsequently referred to Palaeeudyptes sp. Given the similarity to the slightly smaller and more recent narrow-flippered penguin, the two species may be best considered as a single species that decreased in size over time.

The genus name means ancient good diver. The species name honours Professor Brian Marples (1907-1997) who published a major review of New Zealand fossil penguins in 1952.

The holotype (OM C.50.25-47) is held in Otago Museum. Although numbered separately, the bones (which include parts of an ulna, two femora, a tibiotarsus, two tarsometatarsi , a fibula, several phalanges and several vertebrae) are likely to be from a single individual.

Weblinks

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

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

http://fossilpenguins.wordpress.com/2010/01/11/dr-marples-and-his-penguins/

References

Brodkorb, P. 1963. Catalogue of fossil birds. Part 1 (Archaeopterygiformes through Ardeiformes). Bulletin of the Florida State Museum, Biological Sciences Series 7: 179-293.

Huxley, T. H. 1859. On a fossil bird and a fossil cetacean from New Zealand. Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society of London 15: 670-677.

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

Marples' penguin

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