Paleontologists said that epiornisy, which were the largest living Land bird was half-blind and were nocturnal.
Lived in Madagascar a few centuries ago epiornisy (“elephant birds”) is considered the largest ever of birds: they could grow above three feet and to gain weight more than half a ton. Presumably, their disappearance is related to man, although this hypothesis is often criticized: it was shown that epiornisy coexisted with humans long enough.
To explain this can a new article published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. the Authors of it, working under the guidance of Professor of the University of Texas at Austin Julia Clark (Julia Clarke), analysed the existing remains of the skull of epiornisy, showing that areas associated with the perception and analysis of visual information, had these birds almost undeveloped. This, according to scientists, can point to exclusively nocturnal half-blind bird.
In fact, the skull in birds, adjacent to the brain quite tight, and the relief of its inner surface (endokrin) reflects the development of the outer surface of the brain. This allowed Julia Clarke and her colleagues used computed tomography and review of the key structures of the brain in two species of epiornisy, and related modern and extinct species. Scientists have shown that most of them “elephant birds” highlighted the almost complete absence of the optic lobe.
Still it was taken for granted that epiornisy as close to these large birds of today — ostriches and EMUs, was a day of animals. However, the conducted not long ago, the analysis of their DNA pointed to the relationship with the flightless kiwi, which are nocturnal. At kiwi, with extremely low vision, optic lobes of the brain also is almost completely undeveloped. On the other hand, and kiwi, and larger from the study of epiornisy well expressed in the olfactory lobe.
This may indicate adaptation to life in tropical rain forests. Cleverly hiding in the dark of night Madagascan jungle, epiornisy could rarely catch the eye of people. This factor is able to explain quite a long coexistence in the island of giant birds and the people that they were hunted and ultimately destroyed the polls.