Home News Science&Tech Not your regular Poly: Bones of a meter high parrot discovered in New Zealand

Not your regular Poly: Bones of a meter high parrot discovered in New Zealand

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One meter high and with its seven kilos much too heavy to fly. A new strange bird has been discovered in New Zealand. The animal has been extinct for 19 million years, but with its huge body it must have been the largest parrot ever.

It is not surprising that such a huge bird is found in New Zealand. The country is known for its large birds, such as the extinct moa, large geese, cranes and eagles. The island of Fiji was once home to a bunch of giant pigeons. But such a large parrot has never been discovered. “It was completely unexpected that we came across the remains,” writes paleontologist Trever Worthy of Flinders University in Adelaide in the scientific journal Biology Letters. He therefore calls the find “very special”.

The bird’s bones were found in 2008 on the southern island of New Zealand, in an area that is now a ski resort. It was until this month that it became clear that the remains came from a huge parrot, which if it stood on its feet must have been at least a meter long.

The animal was named Heracles inexpectatus by Worthy and his fellow scientists, after the Greek mighty (semi)god. To find out what kind it was, the two bones – from the so-called “drumsticks” of the bird – were compared with dozens of other bones. It turned out that they had to come from a parrot-like one, and not, for example, from a kiwi (sort of bird) or a huge pigeon.

The shape of the bones resembles the kakapo, a large parrot that weighs about three kilos and is still found in New Zealand, although the animal is seriously threatened and extinction is lurking.

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