Pelagornites: Birds the size of an airplane succeeded the dinosaurs

They may not have been the largest animals ever flown, but they were probably the largest flying birds: the reason for the “pelagornites”, real giants of the wingspan of more than six meters. A new study reviewing fossils from Antarctica reveals that this family of birds took on gigantic proportions at least 50 million years ago, or 10 million years earlier than previously thought. This means that their gigantism evolved just a few million years after extinction of dinosaurs (ancestors of birds) 65 million years ago, when an asteroid crashed into the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. what led to the extinction of pterosaurs, flying dinosaurs that dominated the skies Much larger than the pelagornites, the pterosaurs had wingspan of up to 10 meters in some species – that is, the size of a small plane. Their successors, the pelagornites, survived on the planet until relatively recently, before about 2.5 million years, at the beginning of an ice age. But in addition to the size of their wings, pelagornites stand out for a second characteristic: their beak had horn-like protrusions like teeth, which helped the bird to grab the And like the wandering albatross, today’s largest birds with wingspan of up to 3.5 meters, the pelagornites spent most of their lives in the air. “The now extinct giant pelangiria, with its long, their winged wings would fly over the ancient high seas, which had not yet been dominated by whales and seals, in search of squid and other seafood for “They caught up with their beaks,” said Thomas Stidam of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, who co-authored a study with colleagues at the University of California, Berkeley. Seymour Island, just off the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. Reading the original reports that accompanied the fossils, the graduate student Peter Klees realized that the layer of soil in which they were fossilized must be older than estimated. The first of the two fossils examined is the middle part of a middle . It also bears the “pseudo-teeth” of a pelagornita, which would have had a frightening length of 3 cm when the bird lived. From the size of the jaw, the researchers estimate that the skull would have a remarkable length of 60 cm. The second fossil contains only one metatarsal bone of the foot. It is only a few centimeters long, but it is the largest fossil found to date by this lost family of giants. The Sino-American study is published in the journal Scientific Reports of Nature. Follow it on Google News and find out all the news. Latest News from Greece and the World, at

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