Chattian, Late Oligocene, 25.63 MYA, The Caribbean
Early morning on a hot summer’s day over the Caribbean Sea, a male Pelagornis sandersi leaves his mate and young chicks to catch fish and squid. The day’s journey is as any other, leaving at dawn, catching his prey and returning at dusk to regurgitate his food to his family. The bird with the largest wingspan of any, only outmatched in weight by the giant teratorns which will evolve some 18 million years later.
He dives several times, as he have done countless times before. Chasing his prey underwater before eating them whole. Hours pass. He fills his stomach to the brim. Returning to the nest early today, the male is content. As he is flying home he notices a large thundercloud on the horizon bringing a drop in humidity and heat with it. He takes no note of it. As he returns to a breeding colony on a remote outcrop of rock in the middle of the Caribbean, countless squaks and caws of other P. sandersi call out, although the male singles out his mate and walks awkwardly over. He regurgitates his food to his mate and two chicks, and then takes a well deserved nap.
This is my rendition of Pelagornis sandersi, the giant bird discovered in South Carolina a few years ago. I made this over the course of roughly 3 hours while riding on a train. Open full image to see real scanner quality.