Oldest Parrot Fossil Found -- In Scandinavia?

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The ice age that created the countries' trademark fjords would not occur until millions of years later.

So parrots living in Europe during this warm spell makes sense, Waterhouse said.

(See a time line of prehistoric life.)

The study appeared this month in the journal Palaeontology.

Bone of Contention

The presence of a deep groove and an extended margin on the head of the bone, among other factors, suggested to Waterhouse and colleagues that the wing most likely belonged to a parrot.

But some experts question the parrot conclusion.

Gerald Mayr, an avian paleontologist at the Senckenberg Museum in Frankfurt, Germany, was not involved with the study.

"There is no question that this is, in fact, a bird, but I'm not at all convinced that this a parrot," he said.

"Making identifications using just a single [wing bone] is not easy with modern birds—doing it with such ancient birds is risky at best."

Mayr also added there were other birds at the time that had similar bones.

Cecile Mourer is an avian paleontologist at the University of Lyon in France.

"This may be a parrot, but is very hard to tell without the bone in hand," said Mourer, who also was not involved in the study

"It could also be an ibis, which wouldn't be surprising, since ibis have been found during this period—but specialized parrots have not."

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