Monday, August 19, 2019

Very Large Penguins

Penguins are dinosaurs, and since there were some exciting discoveries of fossils of giant penguins in the news this week, it seems like a good time to share these problems from the Math Problems with Dinosaurs book. Here we'll use proportions to derive size estimates for some cute, cuddly, very large extinct Sphenisciformes.


Emperor penguins are the largest living species of penguin. They have an average height of 120 cm and weigh up to 45 kg.




But 60 million years ago, there were penguins living in New Zealand which grew quite a bit larger. These humongous penguins are called Kumimanu biceae.

A fossilized femur of Kumimanu was found to measure 16.1 cm.




 A 120-cm tall emperor penguin has a femur of length 10.5 cm. If we assume that the ratio of femur length to total height is the same for all penguins, how tall was Kumimanu?

On Seymour Island in Antarctica, a tarsometatarsus bone of a different penguin species, Palaeeudyptes klekowskii (the “colossus penguin”) was found. It measured 9.1 cm.

 If our 120-cm-tall emperor penguin has a tarsometatarsus measuring 5.2 cm, and if we assume that the ratio of tarsometatarsus length to total height is the same for all penguins, how tall was Palaeeudyptes?





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Very Large Penguins

Penguins are dinosaurs , and since there were some exciting discoveries of fossils of  giant penguins  in the news this week, it seems like...