A Penguin Adam and Eve Lived in the Lost Continent of Zealandia?

“We propose that New Zealand is likely to be where the earliest ancestor to all crested penguins lived, and where the ancestor of all penguins lived,” Thomas said.

Ancient penguins roamed the lost continent of Zealandia

E. atatu lived in New Zealand tens of millions of years after the rest of Zealandia sank. But the researchers think its ancestor evolved about 60 million years ago, suggesting that penguins likely once wandered the continent while the rest of its surface lay above sea level.

These ancient penguins may have been gigantic. In 2017, researchers found that prehistoric “mega-penguins” stood 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighed 220 pounds.

The majority of Zealandia, which is about half the size of Australia, now sits 3,500 feet (1,066 metres) under the sea. In addition to mega-penguins, the continent was once likely home to dinosaurs and lush rainforest.


My favorite comment from FB:

I’ve camped near a penguin rookery in Antarctica. The smell is unbelievable - had to burn our clothes. Can’t imagine 220 pounds.

The paper, or what I can see of it, seems thin evidence indeed for the bold claims of the news story. Sunken continents? Dubious.

The sunken continent, I thought was well established by other means.

A lot there is open to question. Was it ever above water? Did it ever become submerged? How would that happen? Are there any terrestrial sediments there? And why is this continental crust so much thinner than other continental crust?

Well it is currently submerged, so yes it did become submerged…you may want to read that wiki article…

Doesn’t follow. The East Pacific Rise is currently submerged too, but it never became submerged.

What in the Wikipedia article do you suppose I didn’t read?

The announcement of Zealandia is recent, but I didn’t think it was particularly controversial. Better to ask a Geologist, I think.

During glacial periods, more of Zealandia becomes a terrestrial rather than a marine environment. Zealandia was originally thought to have no native land mammal fauna, but the discovery in 2006 of a fossil mammal jaw from the Miocene in the Otago region shows otherwise.

It would therefore appear that it was glaciers melting at the end of the last Ice Age that likely sunk it.

Addendum: This would probably put it in roughly the same category as Doggerland in the North Sea, except I rather suspect that, at its greatest extent, it was likely still partially (mostly?) submerged.

It sunk about 23 million years ago…so long before that.

It’s a region of continental crust, but I see nothing to suggest that most of it was ever above sea level, at least since the breakup of Gondwana began.

No, that’s just a reduction in the portion of the New Zealand area under water, not a claim that most of Zealandia was above water. Further, it’s way too recent to be relevant to the original article.

No, you have misunderstood. The claim is that the whole thing, specifically including New Zealand, was underwater 23 million years ago, not that prior to that the whole thing was above water. Further, that statement is supported by a newspaper article and a popularization, and there is considerable doubt about whether all of New Zealand was ever submerged.

Somebody get John a Snickers bar. :wink:

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Better somebody should get me a response that demonstrates understanding of the source.

I don’t think it matters if It was ever fully submerged. That’s a different contention all together.

That’s the contention that goes along with “23 million years ago”, however. Nobody is claiming that Zealandia was not mostly submerged before 23 million years ago. I haven’t so far been able to find any clear statements of when if ever it was mostly above water.

Right before the great flood…(lol, relax, was a joke).

With time, Zealandia moved north and sank under the ocean.

GSA Today - Zealandia: Earth’s Hidden Continent

Doesn’t really say anything about the question, does it? Just that one sentence, which means almost nothing.