Nature simply does not cease to surprise us and literally every now and then you can hear about another unique discovery from even millions of years ago, and the latest one concerns a very high prehistoric bird.
Some time ago, we wrote that a group of Australian paleontologists found the most complete of a fully-grown dinosaur in history, which turned out to be a completely new species, which is extremely rare. Now we find out about an equally interesting find, which took place in a cave on the Crimean Peninsula, where researchers stumbled upon the bones of a giant bird that roamed our planet with the first European humans!
If we look at its dimensions, one thing is certain – today’s animals are really a shadow of themselves from millions or hundreds of thousands of years ago. The found individual, belonging to the species Pachystruthio dmanisensis, that is, large ostriches inhabiting the area of Eurasia once, measured the height of 3.5 meters and weighed about 500 kilograms. In short, it is one of the largest birds that ever lived on Earth. As the host of the project Nikita Zelenov adds:
– They weighed almost twice as much as moa (New Zealand birds that were extinct due to Maori hunts, reaching 3.6 meters in height and 250 kg in weight), three times as much as the largest bird living today and almost as much as an adult polar bear. When I first felt the weight of a bird whose thigh bone I held in my hand, I thought it must be the mammoth remains, because no other birds of this size were ever found in Europe. However, bone structure unexpectedly had a different story to tell.
The team determined that the femur’s thigh bone was longer and thinner than that of a mammoth, reminiscent of more modern ostriches, meaning that it had to be much faster than mammoths. It was probably a way to survive this species, because he lived at a time when powerful predators such as giant cheetahs, hyenas or saber-toothed cats were hunting. Most surprising, however, is the fact that all giant birds have been found so far in the southern hemisphere – speech in New Zealand, mammoths in Madagascar and Dromornithidae in Australia, so their presence in the Crimea may suggest that they were more widespread than we thought.