Giant, Possibly Carnivorous Parrot Fossils Discovered in New Zealand
Scientists in New Zealand have uncovered the remains of a gigantic parrot that roamed the country some 20 million years ago.
The ancient bird stood up to a meter (39 inches) tall and weighed up to seven kilograms (15.5 pounds), an international team of researchers wrote in an article published in Biology Letters.
"Heracles, as the largest parrot ever, no doubt with a massive parrot beak that could crack wide open anything it fancied, may well have dined on more than conventional parrot foods, perhaps even other parrots," said professor Mike Archer from the University of New South Wales in Australia.
The research team found the bird's fossils near a mining town on New Zealand's South Island 11 years ago. They only realized what they were after re-examining the remains earlier this year.
"The thought they were from a giant parrot did not enter our minds. We thought it could be some type of eagle until we went back and looked at it again," Paul Scofield from New Zealand's Canterbury Museum told the AFP news agency.
Paleontologists from Flinders University in Australia and the Canterbury Museum have named the parrot "Heracles inexpectatus."
Reposted with permission from our media associate DW.
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Climate Week this year coincides with clear skies in Washington state for the first time in almost two weeks.
In just a few days in early September, Washington state saw enough acres burned – more than 600,000 – to reach our second-worst fire season on record. Our worst fire season came only five years ago. Wildfires aren't new to the west, but their scope and danger today is unlike anything firefighters have seen. People up and down the West Coast – young and old, in rural areas and in cities – were choking on smoke for days on end, trapped in their homes.
Fires like these are becoming the norm, not the exception.