A recent study published last week in Scientific Reports says that over a 50 million years ago a flightless bird weighing hundreds of pounds used to live on Ellesmere Island in the Arctic Circle.
A single bone find was responsible for the bird’s discovery
The bone that provides the basis for the find was first found in the 1970s and was being stored in a collection at the Canadian Museum of Nature and was studied by a team from the University of Colorado Boulder along with researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing.
“People thought there was a larger bird up there but the fossils had never been described,” CU-Boulder’s Jaelyn Eberle, a co-author of a study recently told Fox News.
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“There are lots of wonderful discoveries we can make in the field,” she continued. “But I would say there are a lot of great discoveries that can be made in collections that have been hanging around for a while but, for whatever reason, hadn’t been described. We knew there were birds but nothing had been described until this paper.”
Gastornis has been known from mid-latitudes for a long time, from Wyoming, Colorado, Europe. What we were able to do was compare that fossil from the Arctic to all of these mid-latitude specimens,” she said. “I think what is interesting is that the toe is virtually identical to specimens from Wyoming. The difference is they are 4,000 kilometers (2,485 miles) apart.