Sunday, July 12, 2009

Old birds

51 years - The age of the albatross that currently holds the record for the longest-living North American bird in the wild. Its habitat is the Midway Atoll and its longevity is documented by its 5th consecutive leg band.
2,360-2,740 years - The age of the oldest raptor nest ever discovered. Still used by gyrfalcons, it has been found in a cliff in Greenland, and its age has been established by carbon-dating the guano and other debris.
2,500 years - The age of prehistoric giant moa feathers from which DNA has been extracted. The findings have been used to compare the moa to existing New Zealand species and to reconstruct the external appearance of the extinct bird.
35,000 years - The age of the oldest handcrafted musical instrument yet found: a flute made from the bone of a griffon vulture. It was dated by the layer of sediment in which it was unearthed in a German cave.

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