Skip to main content
  1. News
  2. Science & Space

Prehistoric bird was a boxing champ

See also

Xenicibiswas a prehistoric member of the ibis family that lived about ten thousand years ago and was found only in Jamaica.

Paleontologists at Yale University and the Smithsonian Institution published research in the Proceedings of the Royal Society that were reviewed at the EurekaAlert web site on January 4, 2010.

The new research based on recently discovered partial skeletons of Xenicibis developed the following new and surprising traits of Xenicibis:

The bird may have the most specialized weaponry of any bird species ever known,

The weaponry included thick, curved hand bones unlike those of any other known bird,

Most likely used its specialized wings like a flail,

Had a much larger breastbone and longer wings than most flightless birds,

Is the only known animal to have used its hands, hinged at the wrist joint, like two baseball bats to swing at and strike competing Xenicibis and predators,

Were capable of high force blows as evinced by two of the wing bones in the collection that showed evidence of combat, including a fractured hand bone and a centimeter-thick upper arm bone that was broken in half.

Nicholas Longrich of Yale and Storrs Olson of the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, are the authors of the paper and responsible for the discoveries.

Citation: Proceedings of the Royal Society B. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2010.2117