LECTURE: The Largest Known Flying Animal

The Retired Men’s Association of Greenwich hosts Daniel Ksepka, Curator of Science, at the Bruce Museum who will talk about The Largest Known Flying Animal on Wednesday, March 16, at 11 a.m., at the First Presbyterian Church, 1 West Putnam.

Dr. Ksepka is an expert on fossil birds. He will discuss  ”The Largest Known Flying Animal, “ whose wingspan is larger than many of today’s airplanes. Ksepka also will describe Fossil Lake, which is “arguably the most important paleontological site in the world… the detail of preservation is beyond exceptional.” “Secrets of Fossil Lake” is a current science exhibit at the Bruce Museum.

Did you know that the largest known flying animal had a wingspan larger than many of today’s airplanes? Pelagornis sandersi is an extinct species of “bony-toothed” bird that lived in South Carolina approximately 25 million years ago. With a wingspan of 20 to 24 feet it was more than twice as big as the Royal Albatross, the largest living flying bird. Dr. Daniel Ksepka, Curator of Science, at the Bruce Museum, is an expert on fossil birds and will talk about this fascinating creature.

“Pelagornithids were like creatures out of a fantasy novel — there is simply nothing like them around today,” said Ksepka. These giant birds occurred all over the globe for tens of millions of years, but vanished during the Pliocene, three million years ago.

He will also describe the current science exhibition at the Bruce Museum, “Secrets of Fossil Lake,” which is “arguably the most important paleontological site in the world… the detail of preservation is beyond exceptional.”

Dr. Ksepka earned his PhD in Earth and Environmental Sciences from Columbia University in 2007 and spent five years in residence at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. He is an expert at designing scientifically accurate and visually striking content for special exhibitions.

He is also a popular speaker and writer. He has been a featured speaker at the Nature Research Center at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and the Field Museum. In addition to more than 30 formal peer-reviewed research papers, he has written articles for popular science magazines including Scientific American, American Scientist, and Dig. His personal blog, “March of the Fossil Penguins,” attracts more than 50,000 visitors per year.

The Greenwich Retired Men’s Association offers a free program every Wednesday that is open to the public, both men and women; no reservations are required. Our social break starts at 10:40 a.m. followed promptly by our speaker at 11 a.m. Programs are at the First Presbyterian Church, 1 West Putnam in Greenwich. For additional information see www.greenwichrma.org or contact [email protected]

This is a reconstruction of the world's largest-ever flying bird, Pelagornis sandersi, identified by Daniel Ksepka, Curator of Science at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, Conn. Reconstruction art is by Liz Bradford.

This is a reconstruction of the world’s largest-ever flying bird, Pelagornis sandersi, identified by Daniel Ksepka, Curator of Science at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, Conn. Reconstruction art is by Liz Bradford.

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