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Giant bird fossil, 5-6m wingspan

australia giant bird

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#1    Abramelin

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 05:31 AM

BIZARRE GIANT BONY-TOOTHED birds once soared over Australia, palaeontologists have discovered.

The Pelagornis, with a wingspan of 5m, was the largest flying animal to exist on Earth after the extinction of pterosaurs 65 million years ago.

Dated to five million years old, the fossil leg bone discovered in Beaumaris Bay in Melbourne, Victoria, by palaeontologist Erich Fitzgerald from Museum Victoria, gives new insight into the evolution of seabirds in Australia.


http://www.australia...n-australia.htm



The longest wing feathers [of Pelagornithids] should have been well over a meter long! These lightly built superbirds should have weighed 50 kilograms. These avian giants came close to matching the biggest marine pterosaurs in wingspan and especially in heft. Pseudodontorns further mimicked [(some)] giant pterosaurs by retaining the long jaws and necks with which to snatch up sea life while on the wing."

Michael Habib has subsequently written in an abstract for a 2006 symposium dedicated to the Calvert Marine Museum’s fossil club that

Despite their impressive size and extreme adaptations for soaring, little work has been done on the flight performance of pseudodontorns. I have used anatomical information from Miocene pseudodontorns, along with methods from mechanical engineering, to estimate body weight, flight speed, and launch ability in large pseudodontorn birds. Pseudodontorns would have been champion gliders, exceeding even modern albatrosses in their average soaring speeds. Previous estimates of body weight are likely too low; pesudodontorns were probably heavier and faster than earlier estimates have suggested.”


http://tanystropheus...ers-pelagornis/

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Edited by Saru, 04 December 2012 - 09:16 PM.
Trimmed for length


#2    cormac mac airt

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 05:41 AM

Nice find, even if it is a little short of Argentavis' estimated 7 meter wingspan. I wouldn't have wanted to be in either country at that time. :lol:

cormac

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#3    Abramelin

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 05:45 AM

View Postcormac mac airt, on 03 December 2012 - 05:41 AM, said:

Nice find, even if it is a little short of Argentavis' estimated 7 meter wingspan. I wouldn't have wanted to be in either country at that time. :lol:

cormac

Lol, just look at those massive, toothed jaws !!

:o

What I found interesting is that the bird looks very much like the pterosaurs that went extinct millions of years before.

Same life style, convergent evolution.


#4    cormac mac airt

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 05:52 AM

Considering how narrow their overall wing area would appear to have been in flight, it looks like they'd have spent more time gliding than actually flying.

cormac

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#5    Abramelin

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 05:58 AM

View Postcormac mac airt, on 03 December 2012 - 05:52 AM, said:

Considering how narrow their overall wing area would appear to have been in flight, it looks like they'd have spent more time gliding than actually flying.

cormac

Yes, like a giant albatros.


#6    daavin

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 06:08 AM

View PostAbramelin, on 03 December 2012 - 05:58 AM, said:



Yes, like a giant albatros.
Or a bald eagle they too mostly glide along and have a similar large wingspan

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#7    Abramelin

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 06:13 AM

View Postdaavin, on 03 December 2012 - 06:08 AM, said:

Or a bald eagle they too mostly glide along and have a similar large wingspan

Similar large? These birds had a wingspan of up to 20 feet.


#8    cormac mac airt

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 06:38 AM

Pelagornis' outline and size are quite similar to that of Dasornis emuinus from England c.50 Mya:

Attached File  Dasornis Emuinus.jpg   12.72K   0 downloads

cormac

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#9    Abramelin

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 06:44 AM

View Postcormac mac airt, on 03 December 2012 - 06:38 AM, said:

Pelagornis' outline and size are quite similar to that of Dasornis emuinus from England c.50 Mya:

Attachment Dasornis Emuinus.jpg

cormac

They appear to be closely related, and I almost posted a link to a Wiki page about them but realized it was about the 'wrong' animal.

Still, both belong to the socalled huge pseudotooth birds.


#10    cormac mac airt

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 06:56 AM

View PostAbramelin, on 03 December 2012 - 06:44 AM, said:

They appear to be closely related, and I almost posted a link to a Wiki page about them but realized it was about the 'wrong' animal.

Still, both belong to the socalled huge pseudotooth birds.

And considering that some 45 million years separated the two, the overall flight configuration apparently worked very well.

cormac

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#11    Abramelin

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 07:12 AM

View Postcormac mac airt, on 03 December 2012 - 06:56 AM, said:

And considering that some 45 million years separated the two, the overall flight configuration apparently worked very well.

cormac

Heh, yeah, "closely related" is maybe stretching it a bit, but:

[...] as noted above, Pelagornis, the type genus of the Pelagornithidae, probably belongs to the same pseudotooth bird lineage as Dasornis and may even be descended from it. Thus, even if several families were recognized in the Odontopterygiformes, Pelagornis and Dasornis would almost certainly remain in the Pelagornithidae

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dasornis


Maybe a long lost ancestor of the pelican? Imagine the throat pouch of the animal: he could swoop up a swimming (small) human in one gulp.





Edited by Abramelin, 03 December 2012 - 07:20 AM.


#12    Abramelin

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 07:54 AM

Fossils of 'giant bird' unearthed in Peru
March 15, 2013


The fossilized remains of a giant pelican-like bird dating back some 35 million years have been uncovered in Peru's Ica desert, paleontologists said Friday.

Klaus Honninger, who heads the team that made the find, said the bird resembled a giant pelican that stood more than two meters (6.6 feet) tall dating from the Oligocene epoch.

The Oligocene, part of the Paleogene Period, spanned from 40 million years to 23 million years before present day, and was marked by the extinction of numerous species, a general cooling and increased aridity.

More here:
http://archaeologyne...ml#.UUbgUDdOzEQ


Here a photo of more than just its beak:

http://www.theaustra...6-1226598770031

Gawd, look at those bones....

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Edited by Abramelin, 19 March 2013 - 08:11 AM.





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