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Remains of fossilized 'giant pelican' found in Peru

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

The fossilized remains of a giant pelican-like bird dating back some 35 million years have been uncovered in Peru's Ica desert, paleontologists said Friday.

Klaus Honninger, who heads the team that made the find, said the bird resembled a giant pelican that stood more than two meters (6.6 feet) tall dating from the Oligocene epoch.

The Oligocene, part of the Paleogene Period, spanned from 40 million years to 23 million years before present day, and was marked by the extinction of numerous species, a general cooling and increased aridity.

"The fossil clearly retains remnants of skin. It is an extraordinary discovery because no similar specimen has been discovered anywhere else in the world before," Honninger said.

The discovery was made in the coastal desert of the Ica region on March 6. The site is popular among paleontologists for its abundance of whale, shark and penguin fossils.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130315/remains-fossilized-giant-pelican-found-peru