Eudyptes warhami, Chatham penguin, Chatham crested penguin, Chatham islands penguin, Warham's penguin
The Chatham penguin (Eudyptes warhami ), also known as the Chatham crested penguin, Chatham Islands penguin, or Warham's penguin, is an extinct species of crested penguin previously endemic to the Chatham Islands of New Zealand. It is known only from subfossil bones and probably became extinct within 150–200 years after Polynesians arrived in the Chatham Islands around 1450 AD.
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Bones of crested penguins (genus Eudyptes ) have been recorded from subfossil deposits on main Chatham Island for years. They had been identified as Fiordland penguin or erect-crested penguin, but Tennyson and Millener noted in 1994 they differed from both those species, and probably represented a species of crested penguin endemic to the Chathams. It was referred to as the "Chatham Island crested penguin", but not formally described and named.Show More
As part of a study of the recent evolution of numerous penguin species, subfossil bones from Chatham Island and the mainland had mitochondrial DNA fully extracted, sequenced, and compared to other species of Eudyptes. The Chatham bones differed sufficiently in their DNA to support the penguin's identity as a truly distinct species, and it was formally described in 2019 and named E. warhami, after John Warham, a pioneering researcher in penguin biology. Based on a comparison of mitochondrial genomes, this species diverged from its closest relative, the erect-crested penguin of the Antipodes Islands, between 1.1 and 2.5 million years ago. This corresponds to the emergence of the Chatham Islands from the sea about 3 million years ago.Show Less
The Chatham penguin was endemic to the Chatham Islands.Show More
Bones of the Chatham penguin have been identified from various subfossil and archaeological sites on mainland New Zealand, including the Wairarapa, Banks Peninsula, Marlborough, and Paekakariki areas. These likely represent stray birds from the Chatham islands arriving on the mainland, not breeding populations. Similarly, the erect-crested penguin was among the subfossil Eudyptes bones from the Chatham Islands, which also likely represent strays.Show Less