Scientists discovered the largest parrot (Heracles inexpectatus) in New Zealand. The study was published on Wednesday. The parrot would probably have stood nearly as tall as the average American 4-year-old (at about 3 feet (1 meter).
Heracles is a parrot genus that contains a single species of extinct. The giant New Zealand parrot, Heracles inexpectatus, lived during the early Miocene. The species was described from fossils discovered in 2008 at Saint Bathans, Otago, New Zealand. The initial analysis says it is from the superfamily Strigopoidea, consisting of three confirmed genera of parrots – Nestor (kea and kaka), Strigops (kakapo), and the fossil Nelepsittacus.
Scientists have been finding a lot of big prehistoric birds for years, but this one still shocked them. It’s the biggest parrot ever known to have walked the Earth.
Researchers say that the parrot probably couldn’t fly and consumed what was along the ground and easy to reach.
Sciencealert.com indicates, “Heracles probably won’t be the final unforeseen fossil from the St Bathans area, Worthy told AFP. The researchers have turned up many surprising birds and animals over the years.”
“It was completely unexpected and quite novel,” Worthy, the study’s lead author, told National Geographic. “Once I had convinced myself it was a parrot, then I obviously had to convince the world.”
“No doubt there are many more unexpected species yet to be discovered in this most interesting deposit,” Worthy said.