As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

A case of mistaken identity for Australia’s extinct big bird

January 13, 2016 7.10pm GMT

Australia is renowned for once being home to a group of gigantic birds known as the mihirungs. These birds are distantly related to waterfowl and included the impressive Dromornis stirtoni, the largest bird ever known on the planet at about 450kg in weight.

They were around about eight million years ago and the last surviving relative lived into the last 100,000 years in what is termed the Pleistocene. This was Genyornis newtoni, and at 250kg it was still a massive bird, some six times the weight of an emu. It is listed among the megafauna that went extinct after human arrival.

Fossil eggshell has been found eroding from sand dunes in widespread localities across Australia. And in the early 1980s, one particular kind – about as thick as that of emu – was noticed to differ from that of emu. It was believed to beGenyornis shell.

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