Scientists have uncovered evidence of an enormous parrot in New Zealand (of course). This Polly doesn’t want a cracker. This Polly wants a whole damn loaf of bread.
Before humans arrived, islands were funhouses when it came to avian evolution, producing giant, often flightless birds. New Zealand may once have been home to a 15-pound, 3-foot-tall parrot, according to new research.
What was it like? “One can only speculate on this from comparing modern relatives,” study author Trevor Worthy, associate professor at Flinders University in Australia, told Gizmodo in an email. “Parrots are clever, able to solve problems. Most are herbivores of one kind or another, but one restricted mainly to the ground likely fed on berries and seeds of the abundant fruit that existed in the forest it lived in.”
Scientists first found the fossils—a pair of partial tibiotarsi—in 2008. Birds have three leg bones as opposed to humans’ two, and the tibiotarsus is the middle one. Though they first thought the bones came from an eagle, according to the paper published in Biology Letters, their shape and proportions seemed more parrot-like. But the bones were much larger than most parrots’ tibiotarsi. This bird may have been twice the size of the kakapo, the heaviest living parrot.
more at gizmodo.com