Australian Researchers Discover Rare Fossil of Ancient Koala-Hunting Eagle

Australian researchers from the Flinders University in Adelaide have confirmed on Monday the discovery of the fossil of a previously unknown species of eagle that preys on koalas in South Australia.

The research, published in the journal Historical Biology, shed light on the discovery of 63 well-kept fossils uncovered in the dry lake of Lake Pinpa in Southern Australia back in 2016.

The researchers confirmed that the fossil remains belonged to the species of Archaehierax sylvestris which is one of the oldest eagle-like raptors in the world, 25 million years ago.

The researchers believed that the ancient raptor species survived by preying on birds, possums, and koalas.

“This species was slightly smaller and leaner than the wedge-tailed eagle, but it’s the largest eagle known from this time period in Australia. The foot span was nearly 15 cm long, which would have allowed it to grasp large prey. The largest marsupial predators at the time were about the size of a small dog or large cat, so Archaehierax was certainly ruling the roost,” said Ellen Mather, the study’s first author and Flinders University Ph.D. candidate, in a statement.

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