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.