Scientists find an incredible 25-million-year-old eagle

South Australian paleontologists have found the oldest species belonging to the eagle, and it is millions of years old.

The 25-million-year-old fossil was discovered on the remote shore of Lake Pinpa, which has dried up since 2016.


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The scientists published their findings in the journal of Historical biology. They identified the new species as Archaezialex sylvestris.

The bird is a little smaller than a The wedge-tailed eagle (Aquila audax), the largest bird of prey in Australia, with a step of about 15 centimeters, second Ellen Mather, a doctoral student at Flinders University and first author of the study.

“It probably would have been one of the largest eagles at the time, based on what we know,” he said. The Guardian.

“We think it probably would have preyed on most of the small to medium-sized birds and mammals that were also alive at the time, so things like the ancestors of opossums and modern koalas that live in forests.” Mather said.

This eagle had short wings and fairly long legs, which means he probably ambushed his prey in the forest.

In fact, the translation of his name, Archaezialex sylvestris, significa “Ancient forest hawk”, second ABC News (Australia).

“It is quite common in forest eagles,” Mather told The Guardian. “It’s an adaptation to essentially having to fly through a more crowded space than eagles that live in more open spaces like grasslands or forests.”

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“We think he would have been an ambush hunter. So even though it wasn’t a very fast flier, it would have been quite agile, capable of making quick turns, and probably would have waited. [on] a perch to let the prey roam a short distance “.

The fossil defeats the oldest known bird in Australia: the Pengana robertbolesi, lived about 23 million years ago.

Walter Boles, avian paleontologist discovered and named Pengana robertbolesi, but did not participate in this study.

“We know that Australia has an extensive fossil record of raptors, but very few have been officially published,” Boles said. told ABC. “This [study] it is beautiful, because of the age and relative integrity of the skeleton, and because of the fact that it has been painstakingly analyzed and named. “


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