Fossils of an Australian predatory vulture found in Lake Benba

Fossil remains of the predatory Australian vulture were found in Pinpa Lake, 400 kilometers north of Adelaide.

Do 25 million years (during the late Oligocene), the Australian deserts they were tropical forest Where there was a very rich diversity of animals and plants. In those formerly green lands, dry and barren today, there was a predatory bird known today as Archaehierax sylvestris. The Fossil remains of the predatory Australian vulture They were discovered in prehistoric deposits of Pinpang Lake (400 km north of Adelaide).

How are the fossil remains of the predatory Australian vulture

This fossil consists of 63 bones, which is intriguing, since most fossil birds are named based on a single bone. Archaehierax sylvestris this means “Old Forest Hawk”. Its physical form is to attract attention: it was smaller than the wedge-tailed eagle 15 cm claws They let him chase prey like koWings, rabbits, possums, ducks and even flamingos.

Its wings were short and powerful, designed to fly in the forest And not so much to sail the sky. Thanks to this, this predatory Australian eagle avoided hitting the trees. Flinders University researchers believe that this vulture predator caught off guard, in the form of an ambush, and not fly much into the air in search of food.

A group of paleontologists in the Binpa Lake area. (Photo: T Worthy, Flinders University)

Study authors

“We think it probably preyed on most birds and small and medium-sized mammals that were also alive at the time,” said Eileen Mather, a doctoral student at Flinders University and first author of the study published in the journal. Historical, biology, in an interview with Watchman.

“Vultures are at the top of the food chain, so they were not abundant, which is why they are rarely preserved as fossils,” explains study co-author Trevor Worthy. “It is rare, even, to find a bone from a fossil eagle. Exhuming most of the skeleton is very exciting, especially considering the age of the remains.”

Australia: the land of imposing fossil remains

It should be noted that Pinpang Lakewhere remains Archaehierax sylvestris, you allLatium is rich in fossils. As evidence of this, specimens of bands, opossums, kangaroos and wombats were discovered there, as well as herbivores, such as ducks and cormorants. They are all ancestors of modern marsupials.

Australia is a very fertile land in fossils of various prehistoric species. There are remains of enormous creatures like australutean, or the Shawy ThapunngakaAnd that feed on large fish in the Iromanga Sea.

This type has been described as a “Flying Dragon” He lived in Australia 105 million years ago. The researchers described it as a “scary beast” that hunts and devours baby dinosaurs.

Thapunngaka
Illustration: The University of Queensland

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