|Flinders University palaeontologist Dr Gavin Prideaux with the fossilised bird bones. Pic: Clay Bryce, WA Museum|
Flinders University palaeontologist Gavin Prideaux said the almost complete skeleton was unearthed amid dozens of bird bones in Leaena's Breath Cave in Western Australia, about 70km from the South Australian border.
"We've only ever found one partial eagle fossil before so given how complete this specimen is, it would be an exciting discovery," Dr Prideaux said.
The specimen will be taken to Flinders University to determine if it is an eagle and, if so, whether it is the same species as the modern wedge-tailed eagle or something new.
"It may be new given that it is at least 780,000 years old and probably much older," Dr Prideaux said.
"Surrounding these larger bones are literally hundreds of songbird bones, a situation mirrored through the rest of the deposit.
"This cave has been acting as a bird death trap for at least a million years, which is just one thing that makes this one of the most interesting and unique palaeontological sites in Australia."
The discovery was made during a field trip involving scientists from Flinders University and the Western Australian Museum that is still under way.
Source: Adelaide Now
For more information on this subject you can visit the Flinders Univeristy dedicated website: