card
016

Presbyornis pervetus

OLogy Series
extinct animal
card
016

Presbyornis pervetus

OLogy Series
extinct animal

This prehistoric relative of living ducks had a long neck, tall legs, webbed feet and a duck-like head. Based on fossil evidence, scientists think that these extinct birds nested together in large colonies at the edge of lakes. No one knows if they quacked.

How do paleontologists know that Presbyornis had webbed feet?

they discovered leg fossils with webbed feet

by studying its duck-like beak, they knew its feet were webbed

they found fossils of this bird's footprint

Are you right?

Correct!

The trackways found near this bird's remains show a pattern made by webbed feet.

This 50-million-year-old fossil was dug up in Wyoming. How do scientists think this bird died?

volcanic ashfall

sandstorm

flash flood

Are you right?

Correct!

When a volcano erupts, the ash falls and often smothers animals in the area.

These dinosaurs built solitary nests, like modern ducks.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fiction

These dinosaurs probably built their nests in large colonies, like modern shore birds.

Presbyornis ate meals by "filter-feeding." It swooshed its bill in the water to strain out tiny bits of food.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fact

Modern aquatic birds, like flamingos and ducks, also use filter feeding.

Prebyornis pervetus
(prez-bee-OR-nis per-VET-is)
Locality found: Green River Formation, Wyoming
Age: Early Eocene, 50 MYA
Size: 3 feet tall
Characteristics: This long-legged bird is a member of the Anseriformes group, whose modern members include ducks and geese.

Image credits: Rick Spears.