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Fossil Linked to Biggest Bird Ever: What If it was Still Alive?

Even though the fossil was found 30 years ago in Charleston, South Carolina, the skeleton has remained a mystery until recently. Now scientists believe this could be the fossil of the biggest bird ever found, the Pelagornis sandersi.

Dan Ksepka, a curator of science at the Bruce Museum in Connecticut, used a computer simulation program to find out more about the giant.

With a 20- to 24-foot wingspan and twice as that of a Royal Albatross, the study suggests that the animal wasn’t able to take to the air unless it ran downhill into a headwind. Once in the air, the bird would have used the air currents rising from the ocean, cruising without the need to flap its massive wings.

Another interesting feature: it had teeth.

Pterdodactylus Scale. Credit: Matt Martyniuk CC BY-SA 3.0
Pterdodactylus Scale. Credit: Matt Martyniuk CC BY-SA 3.0

People around the world claim to have witnessed similar creatures, prompting cryptozoologists to suggest that they could be flying reptiles from the genus of pterosaurs, like the pterodactyl and pteranodon.

Some of the most remarkable sightings occurred in a region of Massachusetts known as the Bridgewater Triangle. A term first coined by prominent cryptozoologist Loren Coleman in 1983, the Bridgewater Triangle is a 200-square-mile zone delimited by the towns of Abington, Rehoboth and Freetown. Enclosed within the boundaries of the triangle lay other towns like Brockton, Whitman, West Bridgewater, East Bridgewater, Bridgewater, Middleboro, Dighton, Berkley, Raynham, Norton, Easton, Lakeville, Seekonk, and Taunton.

In 1984, a person allegedly witnessed a pair of  giant black pterodactyls fighting each other as they flew away through the mountains. A similar incident reportedly took place in Taunton in 1992.

Another interesting encounter happened during WWII, as documented in the book Searching for Ropens and Finding God, where one of these beasts purportedly crashed into a ship. Its author, Jonathan David Whitcomb, a cryptozoologist dedicated to finding “the elusive nocturnal flying creatures”. He also chronicles recent and past sightings on his website.

But now, perhaps, a new possibility arises: what if those sightings were actually surviving specimens of the Pelagornis sandersi?


 Picture featured on the front page by Ryan Somma under CC BY-SA 2.0


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