800-year-old penguins revealed in Antarctic ice melt old as Genghis Khan

The mummified remains of penguins as old as Genghis Khan have been discovered in Antarctica, perfectly preserved in the permafrost.

Researcher Dr Steven Emslie of the University of North Carolina was puzzled by a grim discovery in Antarctica’s Ross Dependency. Receding ice around Cape Irizar had deposited remains of Adelie penguin nesting grounds including bones and entire mummified birds. This was in spite of no records of the birds ever living in the area.

The preserved penguin chicks were found on Inexpressible Island, almost 75km away from the closest active colony.

When the “fresh looking” remains were carbon dated scientists placed them to being between 800 and 5000-years-old. Publishing his finds in the Geological Society of AmericaDr Emslie said he had “never seen a site quite like this.” Some of the oldest remains dated back to prehistory, while the best preserved penguins were as old as Genghis Khan.

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