|A reconstruction of the world's largest-ever flying bird, Pelagornis sandersi|
identified by Daniel Ksepka | illustration: Liz Bradford
Pelagornithidae is an extinct clade of birds characterized by bizarre tooth-like bony projections of the jaws. Here, the flight capabilities of pelagornithids are explored based on data from a species with the largest reported wingspan among birds. Pelagornis sandersi sp. nov. is represented by a skull and substantial postcranial material. Conservative wingspan estimates (∼6.4 m) exceed theoretical maximums based on extant soaring birds. Modeled flight properties indicate that lift:drag ratios and glide ratios for P. sandersi were near the upper limit observed in extant birds and suggest that pelagornithids were highly efficient gliders, exploiting a long-range soaring ecology.
Keywords: Aves, fossil, Oligocene, paleontology, pseudotooth
|A line drawing of the world's largest-ever flying bird, Pelagornis sandersi, showing comparative wingspan. left, a California condor Gymnogyps californianus, right, a Wandering albatross Diomedea exulans. |
by Liz Bradford
Aves Linnaeus, 1758.
Pelagornithidae Fürbringer, 1888.
Pelagornis Lartet, 1857.
Pelagornis sandersi sp. nov.
Etymology. sandersi honors retired Charleston Museum curator Albert Sanders, collector of the holotype.
Locality and Age. The holotype was collected from Bed 2 of the Chandler Bridge Formation near Charleston Airport (Charleston, SC). It is late Oligocene (lower Chattian, ~25–28 Ma) in age based on calcareous nannoplankton biostratigraphy.
Daniel T. Ksepka. 2014. Flight Performance of The Largest Volant Bird. PNAS.
A fossil species of pelagornithid bird exhibits the largest known avian wingspan. Pelagornithids are an extinct group of birds known for bony tooth-like beak projections, large size, and highly modified wing bones that raise many questions about their ecology. At 6.4 m, the wingspan of this species was approximately two times that of the living Royal Albatross. Modeling of flight parameters in this species indicates that it was capable of highly efficient gliding and suggests that pelagornithids exploited a long-range marine soaring strategy similar, in some ways, to that of extant albatrosses.
World's largest-ever flying bird identified http://phy.so/323962726 via @physorg_com