Skip to comments.Study: Fossil soaring bird had huge wingspan
Posted on 07/08/2014 8:57:10 PM PDT by Olog-hai
A fossil found in South Carolina has revealed a gigantic bird that apparently snatched fish while soaring over the ocean some 25 million to 28 million years ago.
Its estimated wingspan of around 21 feet is bigger than the height of a giraffe.
(Excerpt) Read more at hosted.ap.org ...
They have film of this bird snatching fish from the ocean? Otherwise, it may have been vegetarian and snatched leaves from trees.
Not a pterodactyl, but modern bird looking, very big thing.
Perhaps it was “Super Goose” and snarfed up huge amounts of grass.
Brother, does you believe?
Show me the skeletons of hundreds of these things and I would believe this was anything but a freak of nature. As for the 25 million to 28 million thingy ... that is another argument. LOL!
Story of them has been around for years.
First time I've read that an actual skeleton on such an avian, capable of flight exists, be it millions of years old.
National Geographic had a two hour special about megaldon (a really really big shark) showing up in various oceans. A large whale beached in Hawaii was bitten in half, which marine biologists claim was done with one bite.
Many birds snatch fish from the ocean.
They don’t even have to touch the surface because there are flying fish.
Of course there are the birds that can dive down 30 feet and chase the fish they want.
Why would one doubt that a large bird could exist that caught it’s food out in the ocean?
Is is just the size that is hard to believe ?
The problem is that dietary claims based upon fragmented skeletal remains are sketchy at best. It’s a presumption or a guess.
Did you see those teeth ?
Yes, and to my knowledge teeth are not necessary to scoop fish out of the ocean.
20 foot wingspan. Found in ancient seabed. Teeth of a carnivore. Most of the surface of the Earth is ocean. Most birds fly over water and many of them snatch fish from the water.
What would be your guess that it ate ?
I would say that it’s reasonably certain to have been a carnivore. Beyond that is guesswork.
For instance, the pelican.
( maybe back then you needed that kind of teeth to catch the fish or get through it's armor)
With those teeth, don't think it ate fruit or sucked nectar out of flowers............Just guessing :)
Or, maybe the remains of the bird predate the presence of the body of water. Maybe it ate marine reptiles. Maybe it merely died in the ocean due to being attacked by a predator while floating on the surface. There is not enough information to support anything beyond what is seen in the remains. It was a carnivore. Speculating about dietary habits is just guessing, with no more factual basis than saying it was green with brown spots and nested in palm trees for camouflage amongst the coconuts.
Still looking for the roasting pan ...
“Speculating about dietary habits is just guessing....”
Not necessarily. Trace amounts of chemicals and biochemical remaining in bone not fully mineralized or in mineralized fossils of bone can reveal the dietary composition of the animal’s prey.
No bird shot for that thing, strictly 00 buck.
There is no indication of such analysis in the referenced article.
The Andean Condor has a wingspan of just over 10 feet and can weigh as much as 33 pounds. Steller’s Sea Eagle and the White-Tailed Eagle both have average spans of well over 7 feet and there among the very largest eagles.
I remember a nature program that talked about larger eagles in Canada, Alaska, and Siberia with wingspans over 12 feet and they went in search of one. Very large Bald, Steller’s, and White-Tailed eagles they found, but no evidence of anything more extraordinary than a condor’s span.
No doubt there were at one time larger species that flew over the earth and they may yet find again and capture some spectacular examples along a desolate coast one day.
Damn, but those are some teeth!
Still hard to imagine something that size being able to take off easily considering all the trouble a condor has.
Bandit! 10 o’clock high!
“There is no indication of such analysis in the referenced article.”
The PNAS article is behind a paywall, so I don’t have access to read it to determine whether there is or is not such evidence available. I suspect such evidence is unlikely to be available due to the age of the fossil.
Nonetheless, the morphological evidence clearly identifies the animal as a waterfowl in a genus known to predate upon fish in the marine environment. The pseudoteeth of the fossil are very strongly indicative of a fish catching waterfowl. It also cannot be assumed chemical traces of the bird’s prey will not be recovered at some point in the future, so it cannot be concluded or truly said a fossil of this bird cannot tell us what it preyed upon.
At a 21 foot wingspan, we’re gonna need some more sauce for the buffalo wings.
Thanks Olog-hai. It has been a great week for finding potential GGG topics, but a lousy one for my posting them. :'(
What would we do without you? Thank you for all the work you do!
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.