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Vegavis Facts


Vegavis (Greek for "Vega Island bird"); pronounced VAY-gah-viss


Shores of Antarctica

Historical Period:

Late Cretaceous (65 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

About 2 feet long and 5 pounds



Distinguishing Characteristics:

Medium size; duck-like profile


About Vegavis:

You might think it's an open-and-shut case that the immediate ancestors of modern birds lived alongside the dinosaurs of the Mesozoic Era, but matters aren't that simple: it's still possible that most Cretaceous birds occupied a parallel, but closely related, branch of avian evolution.

The importance of Vegavis, a complete specimen of which was recently discovered on Antarctica's Vega Island, is that this prehistoric bird was indisputably related to modern ducks and geese, yet coexisted with dinosaurs at the cusp of the K/T Extinction 65 million years ago. As to Vegavis' unusual habitat, it's important to remember that Antarctica was much more temperate tens of millions of years ago than it is today, and was capable of supporting a wide variety of wildlife.

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