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Giant fossil shows huge birds lived among dinosaurs

An enormous jawbone found in Kazakhstan is further evidence that giant birds roamed - or flew above - the Earth at the same time as the dinosaurs.
Writing in Biology Letters, researchers say the new species, Samrukia nessovi, had a skull some 30cm long.
If flightless, the bird would have been 2-3m tall; if it flew, it may have had a wingspan of 4m.
The find is only the second bird of such a size in the Cretaceous geologic period, and the first in Asia.

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Asian 'phoenix' Samrukia nessovi lived with the dinosaurs

Palaeontologists have found the fossilised remains of a giant bird that lived in Central Asia more than 65 million years ago, a finding which challenges theories about the diversity of early birds.
The creature may have been taller than an ostrich if it had been flightless and, if it flew, had a greater wingspan than that of the albatross, they reported in the British journal Biology Letters.
The scientists have named the bird Samrukia nessovi, after a mythological Kazakh phoenix known as the samruk, and after Lev Nessov, a celebrated Russian palaeontologist who died in 1995.

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Discovery: First Scientifically Confirmed Poisonous Bird



Jack Dumbacher, researcher at the California Academy of Sciences, discusses his 1980s discovery of New Guinea's Hooded Pitohui, the first poisonous bird to be documented by science.



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'Oldest bird in US' raises chick

The oldest known bird in the US, a Laysan albatross named Wisdom, has been spotted with a chick.
This image of the bird with its newly-hatched chick was taken by US Geological Survey (USGS) scientists at the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge in the North Pacific.
The USGS put an identity ring on Wisdom in 1956, as she was incubating an egg.

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The oldest known U.S. wild bird - a coyly conservative 60 - is a new mother.

The bird, a Laysan albatross named Wisdom, was spotted a few weeks ago with a chick by John Klavitter, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist and the deputy manager of the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge.
The bird has sported and worn out 5 bird bands since she was first banded by U.S. Geological Survey scientist Chandler Robbins in 1956 as she incubated an egg. Chandler rediscovered Wisdom in 2001. In 1956, he estimated Wisdom to be at least 5 years old then since this is the earliest age at which these birds breed, though they more typically breed at 8 or 9 after an involved courtship lasting several years. This means, of course, that Wisdom is likely to be in her early sixties.

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Elephant birds
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Elephant birds are an extinct family of flightless birds found only on the island of Madagascar and comprising the genera Aepyornis and Mullerornis.
There is archaeological evidence of Aepyornis from a radiocarbon-dated bone at 1880 70 BP (= c. 120 AD) with signs of butchering, and on the basis of radiocarbon dating of shells, about 1000 BP (= c. 1000 AD)

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BBC Madagascar - Attenborough And The Giant Egg 2011



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Palaeontologist after more evidence that relatives of modern birds co-existed with dinosaurs

The theory that close relatives of modern birds once co-existed with non-avian dinosaurs before a mass extinction 65 million years ago had trouble flying with many palaeontologists until about five years ago.
That was when a team of scientists announced that new data from fossils discovered in Antarctica in the 1990s by Argentine researchers offered evidence that at least one species related to modern birds shared the same space and time with dinosaurs. Scientist Julia Clarke hopes to get her hands on additional material from Antarctica during an upcoming expedition that will fill in more of the story about the early spread of all living birds.

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Did you know that the humble robin uses quantum physics?
Researchers have been investigating the mechanism which enables birds to detect the Earth's magnetic field to help them navigate over vast distances. This ability, known as magnetoreception, has been linked to chemical reactions inside birds' eyes.
Now a team from Oxford University and Singapore believe that this 'compass' is based on something known as a quantum coherent state.
In a forthcoming article in Physical Review Letters the team report how they analysed data from an experiment by Oxford and Frankfurt scientists on robins.

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Prehistoric Bird
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Ancient Jamaican bird used wings to go clubbing

An extinct flightless bird from Jamaica fought rivals and predators using wings evolved into clubs, scientists suggest.
The boney bludgeons carried by Xenicibis xympithecus are unlike anything else known in the bird world - or in mammals, reptiles or amphibians.
Writing in the Royal Society journal Proceedings B, the scientists report finding bones that had apparently been broken by another bird's club.
The species may have survived until less than 10,000 years ago.

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Prehistoric Bird Used Club-like Wings as Weapon

Palaeontologists at Yale University and the Smithsonian Institution have discovered that Xenicibis, a member of the ibis family that lived about ten thousand years ago and was found only in Jamaica, most likely used its specialised wings like a flail, swinging its upper arm and striking its enemies with its thick hand bones.
As part of the new study, the researchers analysed a number of recently discovered partial skeletons of Xenicibis and found that the wings were drastically different from anything they'd seen before.

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