Temporal range: EoceneOligocene, 37–45 Ma
File:Anthropornis nordenskjoeldi.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Sphenisciformes
Family: Spheniscidae
Genus: Anthropornis
Wiman, 1905

Anthropornis is a genus of giant penguin that lived 37-45 million years ago, during the Late Eocene and the earliest part of the Oligocene.[1] It reached 1.7 m (5 ft 7 in) in height and 90 kg (200 lb) in weight. Fossils of it have been found on Seymour Island off the coast of Antarctica and in New Zealand. By comparison, the largest modern penguin species, the Emperor Penguin, is just 1.2 m (3 ft 11 in) tall.

The type species, Anthropornis nordenskjoldi, had a bent joint in the wing, probably a carryover from flying ancestors.
File:Giant Penguin.jpg

In literature

The enormous six-foot and blind albino penguins in H. P. Lovecraft's 1931 novel At the Mountains of Madness were fictional cave-dwelling descendants of this bird. They used their large beaks to prey on small dinosaurs.[2]


  1. ^ Myrcha, A., Jadwiszczak, P., Tambussi, C.P., Noriega, J.I., Gazdzicki, A., Tatur, A., and Valle, R.A. (2002). "Taxonomic revision of Eocene Antarctic penguins based on tarsometatarsal morphology." Polish Polar Research, 23(1): 5-46
  2. ^ Joshi, S.T. (ed.). The Annotated H.P. Lovecraft.

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