In the world today there are about 350 species of parrots. Most of them of small size. They easily fit on the shoulder of the person. However, there are real giants. For example, a parrot, kakapo, about which we recently wrote, in length can reach 50 cm. Until recently it was considered the largest parrot that ever lived on Earth. However, new Zealand paleontologists have discovered the ancient remains of a parrot, which was almost two times more kakapo and was his distant relative.
Where was discovered the largest parrot?
Interestingly, the opening of the scientists made 11 years ago. Engaged in excavations near the old gold mining new Zealand quarry, located in the region of Otago, in the Northern part of New Zealand, researchers found partially preserved fossil of the femur, tibia, and beak.
Paleontologists at the site
A group of researchers who discovered the remains, initially suggested that they belong to some unknown ancient mind of the eagles. This idea was prompted by their unusually large size finds.
To a more detailed study of the remains, the researchers returned only at the beginning of this year. First, the researchers compared the discovered fossils of bones collection of bones of birds from the Museum of South Australia, and electronic collection of the Smithsonian national Museum of natural history. So they narrowed it down by excluding the probable relationship of the remains with other types of birds.
The use of modern methods of laboratory analysis have allowed scientists to determine the real owner of these remains.
The largest parrot in the world
Experts believe that they belonged to giant ancient parrot that lived on Earth about 20 million years ago in the Miocene epoch. The surviving remains of presumably the scientists were able to calculate its size. Researchers believe that during the life of the growth of a parrot reached 1 meter, which is equivalent to half of adult height, and weigh up to 7 kilograms. This makes it the largest of known parrots. It is twice bigger and heavier now living kakapo, considered the largest species among parrots.
“We do excavations 20 years and during that time have found thousands of remains of birds and other animals. However, until now we did not find any remains of these giant parrots. It is the largest representative of its species,” says Professor Trevor Worthy from Australian Flinders University, who participated in the study finds.
Comparison of the sizes of: Jay, a man and a parrot Hercules
Since this discovery scientists were quite unexpected, and the size and weight of the birds the researchers really surprised they decided to call the ancient form of giant parrots Heracles inexpectatus. Translated in Latin it means “Unexpected Hercules.”
Where he lived the biggest scare
As scientists say, this kind of parrots lived in the time when most of New Zealand has only recently appeared from the ocean. The habitat of the Hercules was warmer , subtropical forests, inhabited by diverse wildlife, including turtles and crocodiles, the remains of which scientists have also found in the excavation site.
According to scientists, the estimated structure of birds and its size can say that the parrots of this species do not fly and walked on the earth. The main diet of the birds were a variety of nuts, seeds, and fruits. However, scientists believe that this food for such large birds, especially in winter, could be missed.
It is likely, the researchers say, species of parrots Hercules could eat and other kinds of small animals. That is, he was also a predator, which is not typical for modern parrots. For this, he had a powerful beak that could quickly kill their prey.
Extinct species of giant ancient parrots supposedly 12 million years ago, when the planet has begun to change the climate. The average global temperature dropped by 8 degrees Celsius, which led to the disappearance of subtropical forests on the Islands of New Zealand and the extinction of the largest parrot in history.