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Archaeology & History

Remains of real-life 3-meter-tall 'thunderbird' found in Australia

By T.K. Randall
October 5, 2022 · Comment icon 9 comments

Thunderbird Image Credit: Twitter / Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory
Palaeontologists have unearthed what is thought to be the leg bones of the largest species of bird to ever live.
While today the ostrich is the largest bird to walk the Earth, in the distant past there existed avian behemoths closer in size to large theropod dinosaurs than to anything alive today.

Now palaeontologists working in Australia have discovered what is thought to be the fossil remains of the largest bird that ever existed - a creature known as Stirton's thunderbird (or Dromornis stirtoni).

This prehistoric beast, which roamed the Earth millions of years ago, was like an ostrich on steroids - standing at a height of up to 3 meters and weighing in at a staggering 500kg.

Bizarrely, its closest living ancestors today are ducks and chickens.
This latest fossil discovery, which was unearthed at the Alcoota Reserve north-east of Alice Springs, will hopefully help experts learn more about the true size of these prehistoric giants.

It is even possible that more of the skeleton is buried nearby, just waiting to be found.

"We only got the lower legs because that's as far as we dug," paleontologist Adam Yates told Science Alert.

"There's every expectation that a large part of the rest of the skeleton - if not the entire skeleton - might be lying in the next dig as we dig further into the bank that the legs come from."

Source: Science Alert | Comments (9)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Myles 2 years ago
looks like ostrich's are taller but this bird was much heavier.
Comment icon #2 Posted by NCC1701 2 years ago
Probably got stuck in the mud and therefore only the feet are preserved.
Comment icon #3 Posted by OverSword 2 years ago
It’s nine feet tall 
Comment icon #4 Posted by pallidin 2 years ago
Comment icon #5 Posted by pallidin 2 years ago
I guess my mother was into paleontology. Not professionally. She was always amazed by new findings though. She fully understood that properly excavating an ancient skeleton is very slow and time-consuming. 
Comment icon #6 Posted by jethrofloyd 2 years ago
A big chicken!
Comment icon #7 Posted by SD455GTO 2 years ago
Wasn't the Giant Moa of New Zealand around that size?
Comment icon #8 Posted by Abramelin 2 years ago
It was even larger, but also lighter:
Comment icon #9 Posted by SD455GTO 1 year ago
Okay cool a much heavier bird.

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