The fossil of a large bird indicates its wingspan was at least 24 feet long

By Elizabeth Learned,

Scientists have discovered the fossils of the world’s largest bird, which has a wingspan of about 24 feet.

Daily Mail reported computer simulations were done in order to discover how this bird would have flown. It was found that the prehistoric bird, known as Pelagornis sandersi, would have had to go downhilll toward a headwind before making a running jump in order to take flight.

The condor-like bird is believed to be an ancestor of birds such as pelicans and storks. Their wingspan is twice the length of an albatross.

Since previous studies had found that in order to be able to fly properly, the wingspan of a bird had to be 15 feet, researchers had been trying to figure out what the bird did in order to take off into the air and be able to continue flying.

The fossil’s discovery came in South Carolina in 1983. The computer simulations that were done showed researchers that it was possible. Since the bird had wings that were both long and slender, they were able to glide easily.

The Associated Press reported the bird was named after the curator who discovered the fossil. Dr. Albert Sanders is now retired but worked for the Charleston Museum.

Researchers were also able to determine that because the bird’s bones were paper thin and hollow, its legs were stumpy, and due to wing shape, it was most likely clumsy on land.

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