The identification of fossil Eudyptes and Megadyptes bones at Marfells Beach, Marlborough, South Island

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Abstract

Distinguishing characters separating bones of Eudyptes pachyrhynchus, E. robustus, E. sclateri and Megadyptes antipodes are described. The bones of large penguins from fossil and midden deposits at Lake Grassmere, Marlborough, South Island, New Zealand are studied, and only E. pachyrhynchus and M. antipodes are present. Bones of Megadyptes from northern South Island locations are significantly smaller than those of extant southern populations, and thus vary in a similar way to populations of Eudyptula minor in these areas. The fossil bones of Megadyptes antipodes indicate the present range of the species is a relict one, and the frequent inclusion of this species in middens suggests that the decline is due to human disturbance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71-85
Number of pages15
JournalNew Zealand Natural Sciences
Volume23
Publication statusPublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes

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