Giant prehistoric bird fossils found in Antarctica
Scientists on Wednesday said they have found the remains of a giant prehistoric bird that lived 50 million years ago in Antarctica and had the largest wingspan ever recorded.
|Reconstruction of Pelagornis, one of the giant pelagornithids on the Antarctic continent |
[Credit: Liz Bradford]
"Almost three years ago, remains began to appear of what we believed could be this bird. Then we found a bone that confirmed that it was a pelagornithid," an extinct family of enormous seabirds, said Carolina Acosta Hospitaleche, a researcher on the project.
The bird's wings, fully extended, spanned more than 6.4 meters (21 feet), she said.
"The shape of their wings allowed them to glide and cross large distances across the oceans," he said.
Antarctica specialists say there were two kinds of pelagornithid on the continent, one that reached up to five meters tall, with a similar wingspan, and another that stood more than seven meters.
But the recently identified specimen would have been quite light despite its stature—30 to 35 kilograms (66 to 77 pounds), Cenizo said.
"Almost like a feather."
The researchers published the find in the Journal of Paleontology.
Source: AFP [May 18, 2016]