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"Scientists Discover the Largest Birds to have Flown the Skies in History."

Painting © Brian Choo

Ever imagined a bird as big as a dinosaur flying in the sky?

Fossils of giant-sized toothed birds from Seymour Island, Antarctica from 50 million years ago-- a time where the ecosystem is still so diverse and habitable has been discovered by scientists.

Frogs and plant fossils are even found which indicates that the island was once warm and not too icy. Fossil of birds were also discovered. Penguins were also existent even now, however, fossils that are relative to ducks and albatrosses have also been discovered in Antarctica. A new fossil that was peculiar among all the other birds on the Seymour Island has also been revealed and it is specified as the Pelagornithids or “bony-toothed” birds.

Pelagornithidae are ancient birds that had sharp, bony spikes and sawlike jaws. Their sizes were also different and has been labeled “gigantic”.

The largest flying bird alive today is the wandering albatross, which has a wingspan that reaches 11 ½ feet. The Antarctic pelagornithidae fossils that has been examined have a wingspan that doubles that of the albatross.

Throughout the history, these has been considered to have giant sizes: birds and a group of flying reptiles called pterosaurs. Pterosaurs were reptiles that lived in the jurassic period.

.Pterosaur Wing Diagram © Encyclopedia of Alabama

Pterosaurs as pictured by an artist

Reconstruction of a pterosaur specimen by Samuel Thomas von Soemmerring

The fossils has been studied based from the fragments of whole bones collected in the 1980’s by paleontologists from University of California at Riverside.

Peter A. Kloess, Doctoral Candidate, Integrative Biology, University of California Berkeley

Photo © iStock mrganso

Pterosaurs are often called by popular media or general public as “flying dinosaurs” however, dinosaurs are defined as the descendants of the last common ancestor of the Saurischia and Ornithischia, which excludes the pterosaurs.

Pterosaurs are considered to be closely related to birds and other dinosaurs than to crocodiles or any other living reptile, though they are not bird ancestors.

They have also been identified as fish and fruit eaters and even prey on other pterosaurs. The pterosaurs reproduced by eggs as viewed by the fossils discovered.


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