Museum Victoria’s palaeontologist Dr Erich Fitzgerald has unravelled a piece of Australian history, uncovering the first Australian fossil that will likely draw in animal and history lovers.
Announced this week in Melbourne, Dr Fitzgerald located a five million-year old bone of Pelagornis – an extict bony-toothed bird that was the largest flying animal after the extinction of pterosaurs 65 million years ago.
Describing the find as having a “significant change” of the evolution of seabirds in Australia, Mr Fitzgerald said the find was rare particularly as the bird was known to be from all continents except Australia.
“The fact that they existed in Australia not that long ago changes our understanding on the evolution of seabirds in this part of the world,” Dr Fitzgerald added.
“Pelagornis is just one of Victoria’s long-lost marine megafauna, which included bus-sized sharks, giant penguins, killer sperm whales and dugongs. Life was larger back then!”
According to Museum Victoria and Deakin University honour student Travis Park, the creature’s extinction is likely to be linked to environmental changes over time.“The current coastal seas off southeast Australia are less nutrient-rich than previously, and therefore no longer support as many large marine animals,” noted Park.
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J