According to the Eurekalert.com on January 4, paleontologists at Yale University and the Smithsonian Institution have discovered that Xenicibis, a kind of flightless prehistoric bird that lived about ten thousand years ago and was found only in Jamaica, most likely used its specialized wings like a flail, swinging its upper arm and striking its enemies with its thick hand bones。
"No animal has ever evolved anything quite like this," said Nicholas Longrich of Yale, who led the research. "We don't know of any other species that uses its body like a flail. It's the most specialized weaponry of any bird I've ever seen."
The researchers analyzed a number of recently discovered partial skeletons of Xenicibis and found that the wings were drastically different from anything they'd seen before. "When I first saw it, I assumed it was some sort of deformity," Longrich said. "No one could believe it was actually that bizarre."
Xenicibis also had a much larger breastbone and longer wings than most flightless birds. "That was our first clue that the wings were still being used for something," Longrich said。
The team found that two of the wing bones showed evidence of combat, including a fractured hand bone and a centimeter-thick upper arm bone that was broken in half. The damage is proof of the extreme force the birds were able to wield with their specialized wings, Longrich said. It's also possible that the birds used their club-like wings to defend themselves against other species that might have preyed on the birds' eggs or young。
据国外网站"the Eurekalert.com" 1月4日报道，美国耶鲁大学和史密森学会的古生物学学者发现，一种生活在一万年前不会飞的史前鸟类奇异朱鹭(Xenicibis)最喜欢利用自己长的像连枷的翅膀。在争斗中，它们会用力拍打翅膀，用厚厚的掌骨攻击敌人。奇异朱鹭的栖息地只有一个，那就是牙买加。