Mysterious historic big eggs Down Underneath laid by Aussie “demon geese of doom”

Detail from an illustration of <em>Genyornis</em> (aka the "Demon Duck of Doom") not looking so tough as it is chased from its nest by a Megalania lizard in prehistoric Australia.

Enlarge / Element from an illustration of Genyornis (aka the “Demon Duck of Doom”) not wanting so robust as it’s chased from its nest by a Megalania lizard in prehistoric Australia. (credit score: Peter Trusler)

Over 65,000 years in the past, massive flightless birds dubbed “Demon Geese of Doom” roamed prehistoric Australia. The creatures stood over six and a half ft (two meters) tall, weighed over 440 kilos (200 kgs), and sported large beaks. In addition they produced big cantaloupe-sized eggs that will have served as a meals supply for early human inhabitants, ultimately contributing to the extinction of the demon geese, in accordance with a brand new paper revealed within the Proceedings of the Nationwide Academy of Sciences.

Technically often called Genyornis newtoni or mihirung paringmal (“thunder chook”), the species was first described in 1896 primarily based on the invention of a fossilized left femur excavated from a website at Lake Callabonna in South Australia. Additional excavation yielded many extra fragments of avian fossils and ultimately principally full specimens, together with the skull. Related specimens have since been discovered at different websites in New South Wales, Queensland, and Western Australia. The species went extinct inside a number of thousand years after people arrived within the area.

There are two competing hypotheses for why Genyronis grew to become extinct: local weather change or the affect of the arrival of people. For example, there may be some fossilized proof that the Genyornis inhabitants on the Lake Callabonna website perished as a result of the lake dried up attributable to local weather change, depriving the birds of their water supply. Nonetheless, a 1999 examine of greater than 700 eggshell fragments concluded that the species’ decline and extinction occurred too quickly to be attributed to local weather change, suggesting that human exercise was guilty. Particularly, early people within the area could have gathered and consumed Genyornis eggs quicker than the creatures may lay them and reproduce.

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