Paul Scofield and amateur paleontologist Lee Love examine a section of the Wipara River bank near where the Protodontopteryx fossil was discovered.
One of the oldest bird species in the world has been found on the same site in North Canterbury.
Bird-like Monster Birds (Pelagornithids), An ancient family of huge seabirds is thought to have evolved in the Northern Hemisphere by the discovery of the oldest, but smallest member of New Zealand.
At 62 million years, the newly discovered Protodontopteryx ruthae is one of the
Protodontopteryx ruthae. Illustration by Derek Onley.
Amateur paleontologist Lee Love found only penguins and a partial skeleton of protodontopteryx only a few months ago at the Waipara Greensand fossil green site.
The bird was named Protodontopteryx ruthae after the wife of Love Ruth.
Scofield says that the age of fossil bones suggests that Pelagornithids develop in the Southern Hemisphere back when New Zealand has a tropical climate and sea temperature of about 25 degrees Celsius.
Evidence of what is called a "truly giant parrot" has been found by scientists from Australia and New Zealand among fossils aged 19 million years.
"While this bird was relatively small, the impact of its discovery was extremely important to our understanding of this family. Until we found this skeleton, all really old Pelagornithids were discovered in the Northern Hemisphere, so everyone thought they were evolved up. "
Mayr said Protodontopteryx's discovery was" truly incredible and unexpected. "
'Not only is the fossil material one of the most complete specimens of a pseudonym bird, but it also displays a number of unexpected skeletal features that contribute to a better understanding of the evolution of these mysterious birds. "
Later, pealhornitid species evolve to rise above the oceans, with some species measuring up to 6.4 meters in size.
The skeleton of Protodontopteryx suggests that it is less suitable for long distances in compared to later Pelagornithids, and probably covered much shorter ranges. Its short, wide pseudoboard was probably intended for catching fish. Later species had needle pseudoboats that were probably used to catch soft prey such as
The last species of Pelagornitide disappeared 2.5 million ago
The Waipara Greensand site has made some important scientific discoveries about Love in recent years, and made headlines in 2014 when its fossil was recognized as belonging to an unknown group of flying sailors. The bird was named Australornis lovei.
The following year, Love discovered the oldest tropical bird fossil in the world, which revealed the true origin of a bird that, until its discovery, was discovered only in the Northern Hemisphere.
Some of the discoveries, including the fossil Protodontopteryx, will be on display in Ancient New Zealand at the Canterbury Museum later this year.