Fossil of 10 million-year-old bird found in Peru

By | March 5, 2009

Image: Palaeontologist Mario Urbina displays the cranium of a bird Paleontologists working in Peru have found a fossil from a bird that lived 10 million years ago, scientists said on Friday after returning from the dig site on the country’s desert coast.

The species of bird had a wingspan of 19.7 feet and fed mostly on fish from the Pacific Ocean. It first appeared 50 million years ago and was extinct about 2.5 million years ago because of climate change, paleontologist Mario Urbina of Peru’s Natural History Museum said.

Scientists discovered a rare fossil of the bird’s head in Ocucaje, in the Ica region of Peru’s southern coast, where an arid climate has preserved many fossils. …

The bird had some peculiar characteristics, including teeth at the tip of its beak and large wings that were less efficient than those of contemporary birds.

“The teeth helped capture its prey. This was an animal that perhaps trapped its prey and chewed while it flew. It had a hard time taking off from the ground, and needed an elevated point to take off from,” Urbina said.

via Fossil of 10 million-year-old bird found in Peru – Science- msnbc.com.

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