Paleontologists in South Australia have discovered the oldest species belonging to the vulture – millions of years old.
The 25-million-year-old fossil was discovered on the far shore of Binpa Lake, which has dried up since 2016.
The scientists published their findings in the journal Historical Biology. Define the new species as Archaehierax sylvestris.
The bird is slightly smaller than a The wedge-tailed eagle (Aquila audax), the largest bird of prey in AustraliaAnd With a foot length of about 15 cm, according to Elaine Mather, a doctoral student at Flinders University and first author of the study.
“It was probably one of the largest vultures around at the time, based on what we know,” she said. Watchman.
“We think it probably preyed on most birds and small to medium mammals that were also alive at the time, so things like the ancestors of opossums and modern koalas live in the forest,” Mather said.
This eagle had short wings and rather long legs, Which means he might have ambushed his prey in the jungle.
In fact, translating her nameArchaehierax sylvestris means “Ancient Forest Hawk” according to News letters (Australia).
“This is very common in woodland vultures,” Mather told the Guardian. “It’s basically an adaptation of having to fly through a more crowded area compared to vultures that live in more open spaces like grasslands or woodlands.”
“We think it could have been an ambush hunter. So, although it wasn’t a very fast flyer, it was very flexible, capable of making quick turns, and would probably have waited [on] A perch for prey to roam in at a distance.”
Fossil outperforms the oldest previously known bird in Australia – a bird Pengana robertbolesithat lived about 23 million years ago.
Walter Pauls, avian paleontologist Find out and name it Pengana robertbolesi, but he did not participate in this study.
“We know Australia has a huge complete fossil record of birds of prey, but very few of them have been officially published,” Bulls ABC . said. “This is amazing [study] Beautiful, due to the age and relative completeness of the skeleton, and the fact that it has been deeply analyzed and named.”
Read more stories about changing America