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Gandalf would be happy: giant eagle remains more than 50,000 years old discovered in Australia

Giant eagles lived in Australia during the Pleistocene, between 700,000 and 50,000 years ago. The bird had a wingspan of up to 3 meters and powerful claws – large enough to grab a kangaroo. It is the largest bird of prey flying over the Australian continent.

what paleontologists found

Dynatoaetus is quite large in size compared to most modern eagles, but the Australian giants were still slightly smaller than the largest known individuals of two other extinct species: Hieraaetus moorei from New Zealand and Gigantohierax suarez from Cuba.

Dynatoaetus gaffae and the recently described Cryptogyps are new raptor species native to Australia. These birds, similar to eagles and vultures, existed about 50,000 years ago.
– said Ellen Mather, Doctor of Paleontology at Flinders University.

  • The first fossil remains of Dynatoaetus gaffae were discovered in the 20th century in Myers Cave in the Flinders Mountain Range. Among them were the bones of the sternum, the humerus, and the two nail phalanges.
  • 28 more bird bones were found by scientists in 2021, including a skull, vertebra, and additional wing and leg bones at the same location.

The discovery shows that bird populations were once much more diverse in Australia, and that predators were also affected by the mass extinction that wiped out much of Australia’s megafauna.

Source: 24 Tv



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