IT looked like a cross between a seagull and a penguin and plied the waters off the coast of Scotland until the last member of its species disappeared more than 100 years ago.

Now archaeologists say the Great Auk was also a hit with medieval Scottish diners, after a piece of wing bone was unearthed during a dig at the Scottish Seabird Centre, East Lothian.

The 3ft-tall flightless seabird, which ranged across northern Europe and America, was a favoured food source in medieval times and was comparatively easy to catch.

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It was wiped out by human hunters and was driven to extinction in the mid 19th century.

Tom Brock, chief executive of the Scottish Seabird Centre, said: "The discovery of the Great Auk bone on site at the Scottish Seabird Centre is fascinating but also very sad.

"We are so fortunate in Scotland to have a rich variety of seabirds and we must now use the extinction of the Great Auk as a warning to future ­generations to look after our wonderful wildlife and the marine environment as an absolute priority."