Earliest Ancestor of Largest Bird Ever to Walk the Earth Discovered

Dromornis murrayi.  A distant relative of the duck and the first ancestor of the flightless birds that would be the largest bird species ever to walk the earth, was discovered in Australia by a group of paleontologists who are, very proud of the discovery.

Dromornis murrayi

Dromornis murrayi

Researchers from the University of New South Wales and Flinders University have just published an entry in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology providing the details of their findings on the huge, ancient bird. “It lived in the late Oligocene – early Miocene period, and was the first member of the lineage of Dromornis species,” said the leader of the study, Dr. Trevor Worthy, from Flinders University in South Australia. For those not familiar, the Oligocene epoch was from 33.9- 23.03 millions years ago and the Micoene epoch from 23.03-5.3 million years ago. “Originally, it was the smallest of its relatives, weighing in at a pretty hefty 250 kg, but by eight million years ago it had evolved into D. stirtoni, which averaged a whopping 450 kg. Some even grew to reach 650 kg, making these the largest birds the world has ever known.

These men have done a great thing for the paleontological, ornithological, and evolutionary fields, and for that, we thank them.

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