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World’s Largest Bird Had 24-foot Wingspan

by Shane McGlaun
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A group of scientists unearthed a massive bird fossil in South Carolina 30 years ago, and it has taken them until now to identify the fossil. The researchers have now identified the fossilized remains as the largest flying bird ever discovered.

pelagornis_sandersi_worlds_largest_bird_2zoom in

The researchers have dubbed the massive bird Pelagornis sandersi. It’s been theorized that the bird would have looked like a seagull on steroids. It had a wingspan of 24-feet and would have soared on currents over the ocean more than flapping its wings. The team also believes that the giant bird would have been awkward in take off and would have been unable to attain flight by flapping its wings alone.

pelagornis_sandersi_worlds_largest_bird_1zoom in

The scientists hypothesize that the giant bird would have needed to run down hill into a breeze to get aloft. The bird is believed to have fed on fish and squid.

Their research findings were published in the paper Flight Performance of the Largest Volant Bird, authored by Dr. Daniel Ksepka of the Bruce Museum.

[via BBC]

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