Megapaloelodus

Name: Megapaloelodus ‭(‬Big Palaelodus‭)‬.
Phonetic: Meg-ah-po-ly-dus.
Named By: A.‭ ‬H.‭ ‬Miller‭ ‬-‭ ‬1944.
Synonyms: Megapalaelodus.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Aves,‭ ‬Phoenicopteriformes,‭ ‬Palaelodidae.
Species: M.‭ ‬connectens,‭ ‬M.‭ ‬opsigonus.‭ ‬M.‭ ‬goliath may also represent an additional species.
Diet: Filter feeder of aquatic animals.
Size: Average about‭ ‬150‭ ‬centimetres tall,‭ ‬though larger individuals potentially as much as‭ ‬180‭ ‬centimetres tall.
Known locations: Argentina.‭ ‬Mexico‭ ‬-‭ ‬Almejas Formation.‭ ‬USA,‭ ‬California‭ ‬-‭ ‬Barstow Formation,‭ ‬Temblor Formation,‭ ‬Oregon‭ ‬-‭ ‬Juntura Formation,‭ ‬South Dakota‭ ‬-‭ ‬Batesland Formation.‭ ‬Possibly also Europe,‭ ‬refer to main text for details.
Time period: Langhian through to the Messinian of the Miocene.
Fossil representation: Several individuals.

       Megapaloelodus is a genus of extinct bird close in form and ecological niche to a modern flamingo,‭ ‬though at the same time Megapaloelodus was only a distant relative.‭ ‬Megapaloelodus is immediately notable for having a distinctly different ankle structure to that of a modern flamingo.‭ ‬This ankle may have allowed the leg to become locked so that Megapaloelodus could stand upright for extended periods,‭ ‬though the specific function is still not known with absolute certainty.
       Megapaloelodus was named for its similarity to the genus Palaelodus while also recognising the larger overall size of Megapaloelodus.‭ ‬There is another species of Megapaloelodus occasionally named called M.‭ ‬goliath,‭ ‬however some researchers consider M.‭ ‬goliath to actually belong to the Palaelodus genus because this species seems to have a much greater similarity to this genus than to Megapaloelodus,‭ ‬though M.‭ ‬goliath is also significantly larger than other Palaelodus species.‭
       Megapaloelodus would‭ ‬have fed upon larger aquatic invertebrates as well as possibly smaller vertebrates like fish.‭ ‬However it is still unknown if Megapaloelodus had a beak similar to its closer relative Palaelodus,‭ ‬or perhaps a more specialised beak similar to a modern flamingo.‭ ‬At the time of writing there is no way to know for sure,‭ ‬but Palaelodus seems to have been better adapted to swimming and paddling,‭ ‬while Megapaloelodus was almost certainly a dedicated wader,‭ ‬which may also increase the likelihood of a more specialised feeding option.

Further reading
-‭ ‬An avifauna from the lower Miocene of South Dakota.‭ ‬-‭ ‬University of California Publications,‭ ‬Bulletin of the Department of Geological Sciences‭ ‬27‭(‬4‭)‬:85-100.‭ ‬-‭ ‬A.‭ ‬H.‭ ‬Miller‭ ‬-‭ ‬1944.
-‭ ‬Birds from the Pliocene of Juntera,‭ ‬Oregon.‭ ‬-‭ ‬Quarterly Journal of the Florida Academy of Sciences‭ ‬24‭(‬3‭)‬:169-184.‭ ‬-‭ ‬P.‭ ‬Brodkorb‭ ‬-‭ ‬1961.



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