New research has completely changed our perception of massive size versus powered flight. Until now it was believed that huge birds fly by gliding due to less power required. If they were to flap wings for flying then the power needed will grow faster than the power generated during flight. The newly discovered fossils of the bird species, Pelagornis Sandersi, did not validate the previous beliefs.
The new species of bird is found to be the world’s largest flying bird with a wingspan of 24 feet as big as an airplane. What astounded the researchers was its ability of both flying and gliding the earth’s blue skies especially with its huge size.
Researchers performed a computer simulation of both flapping and gliding models to test the bird’s flight capabilities. They found out that the species body structure greatly helped in flight such as its long, slender wings in comparison to the body size with paper thin hollow bones and stumpy legs. This mega-bird was fast and efficient glider with a speed of 17 meters per second or 40 mph.
The preferred method of the bird’s flight was gliding but in the right circumstances it was capable of flapping wings as well. In both cases the takeoff was standing as the massive size did hinder the bird taking off while flapping wings. These birds used to fly large oceanic distances in search of prey.
Pelagornis Sandersi have broken the previous record of the largest bird, named Argentavis with a wing span of 23 feet who ruled the skies for 6-8 million years ago.
Pelagornis Sandersi covered the sky around 25 million to 28 million years ago and existed in all the continents of earth. They disappeared around 3 million years ago which is still a mystery.
The study has been recently published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Imagine a bird as big as an air plane flying the skies in modern world. What do you think, amazing or scary? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.