Scientists have discovered the remains of an ancient vulture near a dry, arid lake in South Australia. The majestic bird is believed to have terrorized the grass 25 million years ago, when the Earth was teeming with lush forests and, from an eagle’s point of view, helpless prey.
The find consists of 63 massive, well-preserved fossils that include almost the entire skeleton of an eagle.
Flinders University paleontologist Trevor Worthy, co-author of a study on the find published On Monday in the Journal of Historical Biology, the fossils were described as “fascinating.”
“It’s rare to find even a single fossil eagle bone,” said Eileen Mather, the study’s first author and a PhD candidate in palaeontology at Flinders University in Australia. “Having most of the skeleton is very exciting, especially considering his age,” Mather said.
Eagles are at the top of the food chain, with some preying on squirrels, prairie dogs and rabbits and using the sky as their safe haven. “They are always fewer – and therefore they are rarely preserved as fossils,” Worthy said.
Found near deserted Pinpa Lake in Australia, these abundant fossils are not only a rare find, they also belong to one of the oldest and most powerful birds of prey in the world.
“This species was smaller and less agile than the wedge-tailed vulture, but it is the largest known vulture from this time period in Australia,” Mather said. The wedge-tailed, or “wedges” as it is known in Australia, is a broad-winged bird of prey a size similar to the American bald eagle (The wedgie, though, He will win the battle).
Called Archaehierax sylvestris, this prehistoric winged alpha was unlike any family of vultures we know and had a relatively short wingspan. But she used this feature to her advantage.
Once, she expertly evaded trees and branches while stalking her victims, and is believed to have attacked animals by ambush, armed with a massive foot about six inches. High in the trees, the researchers say, the feathered hunter attacked koalas, possums, and other endangered animals.
“The largest marsupial predators at the time were the size of a small dog or a large cat, so Archaehierax definitely ruled the roost,” Mather said. “It was one of the largest terrestrial predators of the late Oligocene, preying on birds and mammals living at that time.”
This discovery is another in a recent series of remarkable fossil discoveries. Others include the remains of a prehistoric bird reptile that was discovered during the prehistoric period Huge “swimming head”., an ancient sea monster that looks like a