Extinct flightless Jamaican bird clubbed rivals
Published on January 5th, 2011 | by Admin1
The boney bludgeons carried by Xenicibis xympithecus are unlike anything else known in the bird world – or in mammals, reptiles or amphibians.
The species may have survived until less than 10,000 years ago.
A member of the ibis family, it was probably about the size of a chicken, but with an infinitely more robust armoury.
Fossils show that the metacarpus – one of the “hand” bones – was elongated and much bigger than in related species, with very thick walls.
This allowed the wings to function “in combat as a jointed club or flail”, the researchers write.