Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

The Last of the Flying Giants

Pelagornis

Its 5–6 metre wingspan, narrow wing shape and light skeleton would have made Pelagornis an efficient long-distance glider. Credit: Peter Trusler/Museum Victoria

By Erich Fitzgerald

For 55 million years, giant seabirds with serrated beaks successfully soared above the waves before vanishing 2.5 million years ago. Now fossils uncovered in Melbourne show for the first time that these bizarre birds called Australia home and reached every continent, deepening the mystery of their extinction.

Erich Fitzgerald is Senior Curator of Vertebrate Palaeontology at Museum Victoria.

To view this article subscribe or purchase a yearly pass here.