Pelagornis Update

16 09 2010

Good tidings and well-wishes!

(NOTE: I’m currently unable to upload photographs to this particular enrty, but rest assured: I’ll lavish the post with fascinating images as soon as I’m able!)

I sincerely apologize for the incessant delay of new posts onto this, my humble corner of the ‘net: my aforementioned academic schedule rennovations have alotted me little time to do anything else but catch up on enough reading material to rival the complete works of Leo Tolstoy in volume.

At any rate, I wanted to call everyone’s attention to an exciting piece of news. Last February, I dedicated a post to the well-known but poorly represented (in the fossiliferous sense) Pelagornis sp, a French member of the pelagornithidae family. For those too lazy to check out either of the links I’ve just provided, these were massive, albatross-like birds with notoriously long and slender wings and which had evolved tooth-like spikes on their beaks to ease the process of (theoretically) capturing slippery fish and cephalopods. While relatively complete remains of other pelagornithids such as Osteodontornis certainly aren’t unheard of, the family’s namesake genus was first described in 1857 on the basis of an isolated humerus, dubbed P. miocaenus by its discoverer Edoulard Lartet, which remained the solitary piece of evidence attesting to the existence of this magnificent fowl for over a century and a half.

However, a new paper just released by the Journal Of Vertebrate Paleontology (which seems to have long-since forgotten my existence as a paying member as I haven’t received anything from them for six months, despite the financial vigilance I’ve shown its legislative body) reports the unearthing of a “new” Pelagornis species from Chile*. The animal has (unsurprisingly) been named P. chilensis and sported a reconstructed wingspan of 5.2 meters (17 feet). While this fails to match the 7-meter estimate put forth by several paleo-ornithologists or the comparable measurements obtained by the teratornithid Argentavis, it still makes for one hell of an impressive bird (by comparison, the modern albatross achieves a maximum wingspan of 3.5 meters)!

For more images and information concerning this intriguing pelagornithid update, do go here.  

P.S.: Hat-tip to Mike Walley of www.everythingdinosaur.com for bringing this to my attention!

*See the ‘comments’ section for more relatively recent Pelagornis discoveries.

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7 responses

17 09 2010
accpaleo
18 09 2010
Gary

Hey buddy! I have been for lack of a better word slacking on my blog maintenance, but I just found you and added you to my blog roll. Your blog is ACES, so I hope you add mine as well and hit the “follow” button on my blog. I’ve been catching up on your work here on your blog and its good to do so. How is everything otherwise? Best wishes, Gary from MESALANDS!

18 09 2010
Gary

lol…just noticed you got me there, so maybe you could hit the follow button on my blog. The website not long ago was converted to have both website and blog content on Blogger. Hope to hear from sooo!

18 09 2010
Boesse

Thought I’d mention – in addition to Pelagornis miocaenus (known only by humeri and a sternum), and the newly described Pelagornis chilensis, there is also a late Pliocene species from Morocco – Pelagornis mauretanicus, which was described in 2008 based off of some fairly fragmentary material.

19 09 2010
tanystropheus

-Gary: It’s great to hear from you! I’ve just watched your very entertaining “Project Dryptosaurus Vlog” pilot and simply can’t wait for the rest of the series! We’ll most assuredly have to keep in touch, and I’ll update your blog’s listing on my own site immediately!

-Robert: Many thanks for the update… it’s so damnably difficult obtaining quality pelagornithd info!!!!

19 09 2010
Gary

Thank you! Do me a solid and cut and paste this create comment under that video on my blog lol…very inspirational seriously! And hit the follow button. I got you on my blogroll and you got me subscibed! Talk to you soon!

19 09 2010
Gary

I meant put this great comment under the video on my blog lol…its inspirational! Just cut and paste lol…but thanks!

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