19 Nov 2008

Penguin research uncovers older species

5:02 pm on 19 November 2008

New research has revealed the yellow-eyed penguin has not lived in New Zealand as long as first thought.

A team of biologists from New Zealand and Australia now estimates the endangered penguin colonised the South Island just 500 years ago, replacing a previously unknown species.

Otago University zoology PhD student Sanne Boessenkool says the study was simply to research the history of the yellow-eyed penguin.

However, she says the team was startled to discover the existence of a previous penguin species, known as the Waitaha penguin, using DNA from prehistoric bones.