Their head was the size of Horse head. The six-foot tall birds cannot fly but roam like animals. They weighed several hundred pounds. These prehistoric enormous flightless Big Birds roamed the Arctic Circle 53 million years ago, according to a report published in ‘Nature’.
They used to move around swampy land that is now the frozen Arctic.
Researchers confirmed the prehistoric birds presences in the wintry land after re-examining a toe bone found on Ellesmere Island.
Discovered in the 1970s, this is the first evidence suggesting this species exists above the Arctic Circle.
The fossil is a match with the toe bones discovered in Wyoming alongside other remnants belonging to the prehistoric bird, Gastornis, according to the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing and the University of Colorado Boulder.
‘The Gastornis material reported from Ellesmere Island is the northernmost record of that taxon in North America,’ reads the study published in journal.
Originally thought to be a fearsome carnivore, recent research indicates Gastornis probably was a vegan, using its huge beak to tear at foliage, nuts, seeds and hard fruit.
Remnants of the bird have been discovered in Europe and Asia but never this far north.
While on the hunt for Gastornis, researchers stumbled upon a single fossil humerus, or upper wing bone, that once belonged to another Ellesmere Island bird from the same period.
Named Presbyornis, it was similar to birds in today’s duck, goose and swan family but with long, flamingo-like legs.
And unlike Gastornis, Presbyornis could fly.