In a Crimean cave, a group of paleontologists has discovered the fossil remains of a giant bird that have ever walked on the face of the Earth, and that would have inhabited the planet with the first European humans.
As the researchers explain in a work that has seen the light this week, these prehistoric birds are between 1.5 and 2 million years old and belong to the species Pachystruthio dmanisensis. Judging from the powerful thigh bone, the researchers estimated that it would be at least 3.5 meters tall and that it weighed up to 450 kilos. Put another way, this makes it one of the largest birds that ever lived. (fossil remains of a giant bird)
“This formidable weight is almost double the moa, three times the largest living bird, the common ostrich, and almost as much as an adult polar bear. When I first felt the weight of the bird whose thigh was in my hand, I thought it must be a Malagasy elephant bird fossil because birds of this size have not been reported in Europe. However, the bone structure unexpectedly told a different story, ” explains Nikita Zelenov lead author of the study.
Apparently, the team discovered that the femur of the new bird was longer and thinner than that of the elephant birds. With a shape closer to the modern ostrich (not in size), which suggested it was an incredibly fast bird. Their speed was probably also key to their survival: the bones were found together with many Pleistocene predators, such as giant cheetahs, hyenas, and saber-toothed cats.
However, although everything in the bird was spectacular, the most intriguing was where it was found. Previously, the giant bird bones had only been found in the southern hemisphere: the moa in New Zealand, the elephant bird in Madagascar and the dromornitis in Australia. Finding these fossils in the Crimea indicates that giant and prehistoric birds were more widespread than we thought.(fossil remains of a giant bird)
In fact, the idea is supported by the discovery in the past of bones of the same species in Dmansi, Georgia, although its importance had gone unnoticed and had not been investigated. Those bones appear to be older, suggesting that birds broke through in the Crimea region through the southern Caucasus and Turkey, and would have shared the area with the first European human ancestors, who could have hunted them for meat, bones and feathers.