The intact fossilized skull of a giant, bony-toothed seabird that lived 10 million years ago has been found on Peru’s arid southern coast.
The fossil is the best-preserved cranium ever found of a pelagornithid, a family of large seabirds believed to have gone extinct some 3 million years ago.
The birds had wingspans of up to 20 feet (6 meters) and may have used the toothlike projections on their beaks to prey on slippery fish and squid.
The cranium discovered in Peru is 16 inches (40 centimeters) long and is believed to be 8 million to 10 million years old, based on the age of the rock bed in which it was found.
Fossils of craniums have been discovered in North America, North Africa and even Antarctica, the birds were ubiquitous only a few million years before humans evolved and scientists puzzle over why they died out.
Some believe they are related to gannets and pelicans, while other say they are related to ducks.
Source: The Jakarta Post, image © AP/Martin Mejia.