Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Evidence of first Hummingbird fossil found-

Evidence of the first Hummingbird fossil-
Hello, my dear friends, followers, supporters & readers too for today's post I am going to bring you all to one of my favorite subjects but in a different way. I have found two different area's of the world that has found very old fossils of hummingbirds. One being in Germany and the other in France. First I will bring you to Germany(near Darmstadt Germany) where the scientists at Senckenberg Research Institute discover a 47-million old fossil of a hummingbird with still traces of pollen in its stomach. So basically Germany was the first to find evidence that birds HUMMINGBIRDS pollinated flowers 50 millions years ago. It was found in the Messel Pit which I will leave in this post a image so that you all can see where the German scientists found the hummingbird fossil. The Messel Pit is said to have poisonous gases where it killed any animals that enter it. It's quite amazing that they were able to find a fossil of the tiniest bird know to the world. It is also remarkably that the almost 50million old hummingbird still contained traces of pollen from various plants that flowered
Germany the Messel Pit
47million years ago. To me it is quite amazing that we now have real evidence of an hummingbird so far back in our past. It would be so interesting to know what kinda hummingbird it actually be? or what the flowers look like that the hummingbird was feeding upon! Apparently the discovery is quite well known and the hummingbird fossil is called the Treasure Trove called the Messel Pit near Darmstadt in Germany.
The Messel Pit, about 22 miles (35 kilometres) southeast of Frankfurt. It was a vast lake 47 million years ago that formed from a volcanic eruption. More recently it was a quarry until the late 20th century when it was declared a Unesco World Heritage site owing to the significant scientific discoveries that continue to be made there. It would seem that
The hummingbird fossil 47million old
Dr.Gerald Mayr of the Senckenberg Research Institute in Germany feels that there has been occasional hints, such as characteristic bill shapes, that pollinating birds occurred in the past. Fossil evidence for the existence of pollinating insects dates back 100-million year ago to the Cretaceous period. However, there had been no information at what time pollination through vertebrates, and birds in particular came into existence. The earliest indication of an avian pollinator came form the early Oligocene - 30 million years ago.

Dr.Gerald Mayr of the Senckenberg Research Institute
 Contents of 47million hummingbird
continues in saying that because of the excellent state of the preservation of the Messel Bird, we were able to identify two different types of pollen which is the first conclusive proof of pollination. Large numbers of differently sized pollen grains were found in the stomach contents of the completely preserved prehistoric Hummingbird known as the 

Pumilijornis Tessellatus. The another conclusion that suggests that we had pollinating birds Millions of years ago, it must be assumed that some representatives of the flora at that time had already adapted to this mode of pollination. It would seem that this lead to even greater importance to find such as this to understand the interactions between birds and flowers through geological time. 

Another interesting fact I found out is;

'What was the Messel Pit?

Its called the Treasure Trove too, near Darmstadt in Germany.The Messel Pit is about 22 miles (35 kilometres) southeast of Frankfurt. It was a vast lake, 47 million years ago that formed from a volcanic eruption and then left a deep, steep sided crater. Now and then it would let forth a giant belch of poisonous volcanic gases that would kill off its inhabitants. Once the corpses had drifted down into the soft sediment at the bottom of the lake they were not picked over by scavengers 47 million years ago. Their corpses would be gradually devoured by bacteria. Mineral wastes excreted by devoured by bacteria. Mineral wastes excreted by the bacteria became fossilised, leaving behind a detailed shadow in the shape of the soft parts of the animals

Then there's the discovery of the 30 million old hummingbird fossil, that was found in the southern part of France. This discovery has deepened the mystery of why these beautiful & fragile creatures disappeared from Europe. And now only exist on the American continent.The fossil was originally found by an amateur palaeontologist at the end of the 1980's in the Lubron National Park in Provence. It stayed in his private collection for a number of years unknown to anyone. After a number of years the fossil was finally discovered or re-discovered. It would seem that it was found in the most unually way. The hummingbird fossil was discovered by way of  amateur palaeontolgists purchasing the hummingbird fossil over and over again. Until finally a expert on bird fossils purchase the fossil and the 30 million year old hummingbird fossil finally was safe and in the hands people who knew what the importance of the find...It happens to be also by far the most complete too!

The fossil is extraordinary in several way; it has been exceptionally well preserved; its tiny vertebrae, delicate feet, the bones of its wings, its skull and the beak are all intact. Even its feathers have left a fine layer of black powder around it. Also astonishing part about this tiny fossil is the apart from a few very small differences, this ancient hummingbird is very similar to its modern relatives. Various characteristic features can be easily identified on the fossil, such as a v-shaped bone in the lower part of the beak which permits the bird to retract the long tongue it uses for sucking nectar from flowers is one very key feature! Which I would love to see... There is another feature which is visible on the fossil and that is the specialist structure on the wings that permit the hummingbird to flap their wings in any direction. This also allows them to hover in mid-air while sucking on the nectar, with some species wings flapping up to 70 times per second. They are also the only bird group that are able to fly backwards. I hope your all enjoyed this interesting post on hummingbirds and how millions of years ago they been here on earth.

your friend always

 

WENDY 

 



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