Saturday, July 7, 2012

Banjo the prehistoric super-killer unearthed in Victoria, Australia...

 
Introducing 'Banjo' from prehistoric Australia - (no relation to Banjo Patterson) -Australovenator wintonensis is his official title. Scientists have discovered a frightening weapon used by one of Australia's deadliest prehistoric predators to attack its prey...
Pelagornis-giant-bird-fossil
A bizarre bony-toothed, giant bird fossil, with a 5m wingspan, has been discovered in Victoria.
banjo-dinosaur-claw
The 5-million-year-old giant bony-toothed bird Pelagornis. (Credit: Museum Victoria / Peter Trusler)
BIZARRE GIANT BONY-TOOTHED birds once soared over Australia, palaeontologists have discovered.
The Pelagornis, with a wingspan of 5m, was the largest flying animal to exist on Earth after the extinction of pterosaurs 65 million years ago.
Dated to five million years old, the fossil leg bone discovered in Beaumaris Bay in Melbourne, Victoria, by palaeontologist Erich Fitzgerald from Museum Victoria, gives new insight into the evolution of seabirds in Australia.
"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," said Erich in a statement.
Bony-toothed birds
Pelagornis is part of the Pelagornithidae family, a group of ancient birds which sport a tooth-like projection on their beaks. "Bony-toothed birds are enigmatic extinct seabirds with a long history spanning over 50 million years," Erich said. "They were previously known from all continents except Australia...We knew next to nothing about the evolution of seabirds in Australia [and] this finding shows us that there has been a significant change in seabird diversity between five million years ago and now."
http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/journal/giant-bony-toothed-bird-fossil-found-in-australia.htm
http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/journal/aussie-banjo-dinosaur-had-giant-claw.htm

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