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Fossil of an old Pelagornithid Bird

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A giant bird known as Pelagornithid lived in Antarctica 50 million years ago.

It has the largest wing in the world. The bird’s wings, fully extended, spanned more than 6.4 meters (21 feet). The shape of their wings allowed the birds to glide and cross large distances across the oceans

Recently, fossils of this giant prehistoric bird were found by a group of scientists have found at an Argentine research base on the Antarctic island of Marambio.

“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 from the Natural History Museum in Argentina.

A replica of a Pelagornis skeleton at the National Museum of Natural History. CREDIT: RYAN SOMMA

As per researchers, this bird was the largest pelagornithid specimen ever found.

There were two kinds of pelagornithid on the continent discovered, one that reached up to five meters tall, with a similar wingspan, and another that stood more than seven meters.

The reason behind this enormous growth in size is the temperatures which probably have given them an abundance of food to thrive, the researchers said.

“But the recently identified specimen would have been quite light despite its stature—30 to 35 kilograms (66 to 77 pounds),” said Marcos Cenizo, the director of the Natural Sciences Museum of La Pampa

Pelagornis Sandersi is the largest flying bird known to ever have lived. The fossil of Pelagornis Sandersi was discovered in 1983 near Charleston, South Carolina. The reason why it was named Sandersi the fact that it was discovered by the Charleston Museum curator Albert Sanders, who led the fossil’s excavation.

It lived for tens of millions of years, but vanished just 3 million years ago, and no one is certain as to why, but the huge bird was present on every continent, including Antarctica.

 

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