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Fossil of largest ever flying bird discovered


Posted on Tuesday, 8 July, 2014 | Comment icon 15 comments

A museum reproduction of a Pelagornis skeleton. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Ryan Somma
Palaeontologists have revealed an enormous prehistoric bird described as a 'seagull on steroids'.
With a wingspan of 24ft, Pelagornis sandersi is the largest known bird to ever be capable of taking to the skies.

The species went extinct around 3 million years ago and its fossil remains were unearthed beneath what is now Charleston International Airport.

The massive animal possessed extremely thin and hollow bones, stumpy legs and huge wings to help it glide.

Researchers believe that it may have had to rely on air gusts and steep slopes to help it take off as its size and weight would have made it difficult to initiate flight while stationary.

Once in the air however Pelagornis would have been able to stay aloft for hours and glide for miles over the open ocean, occasionally swooping down to prey on sea creatures like eels and squid.

Source: Discovery News | Comments (15)

Tags: Bird, Albatross


 
Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #6 Posted by paperdyer on 9 July, 2014, 16:13
Big Bird! We've found your Roots!
Comment icon #7 Posted by skookum on 11 July, 2014, 0:32
Imagine that nicking your chips at the seaside or pooping on your car!!
Comment icon #8 Posted by psyche101 on 11 July, 2014, 5:58
The first bird I thought of too. It was about double the size of Hassts Eagle, I'd say due to it's immense size, Hassts Eagle would be more agile and have an advantage there. It used to kill Giant Moa, which are large ground birds by swooping from the sky and breaking it's neck.
Comment icon #9 Posted by psyche101 on 11 July, 2014, 6:00
Interesting point!! I wonder if it would be larger than the egg of an Elephant Bird?
Comment icon #10 Posted by toast on 11 July, 2014, 7:53
That exactly was my first thought when I read the topic. Or just imagine you are walking along the beach with yr grl and a swarm of Pelagornis will pass you and °°@#. You need to have a GPS sender with you that the rescue workers will be able to find you within 3 hrs in that pile. On the other hand, the prices for Guano would be much lower, good for the farmers.
Comment icon #11 Posted by taniwha on 11 July, 2014, 9:57
The largest ever flying animal was by far bigger than that... http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pterosaur_size
Comment icon #12 Posted by Lilly on 11 July, 2014, 13:30
Ok, but a Pterosaur wasn't a bird.
Comment icon #13 Posted by maximusnow on 11 July, 2014, 15:58
WTH? Elephant bird? that is a new one for me.... researching.
Comment icon #14 Posted by SameerPrehistorica on 13 July, 2014, 13:46
hmm...So this bird challenges the previous record holder Argentavis.


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