Ancient Sea Bird Had Biggest Wingspan

SANTIAGO, Chile, Sept. 15 (UPI) — The fossilized skeleton of an ancient bird found in Chile shows the creature had a wingspan of at least 17 feet, twice that of any living bird, scientists say.

The 70-percent complete skeleton of Pelogornis chilensis, a sea bird that lived 5 million to 10 million years ago in Chile, was analyzed by David Rubilar of the National Museum of Natural History in Santiago, Chile, reported.

The wingspan is nearly twice that of the wandering albatross, the living species bird with the largest wingspan, which can be between 8 feet and 11 feet.

Because the ancient bird had thin-walled bones, previously discovered fossils had been crushed, making it difficult to determine their original size.

The newly discovered fossil is intact, Rubilar says, confirming the creature’s impressive wingspan.

The study will appear in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

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