This 47-million-year-old fossil of a bird reminiscent of a modern-day swift, discovered in the Messel Pit, displays a unique level of preservation. Even the finest feather structures are discernable. Based on the long primaries, it can be assumed that this bird, similar to today’s swifts, was an excellent flyer that fed on flying insects and spent most of its time in the air.


  • Title: Fossil bird
  • Location: Messel pit, Hesse, Germany
  • Type: original
  • Rights: Sven Tränkner Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung
  • size: 25 cm
  • scientific name: Scaniacypselus szarskii
  • geological Age: Middle Eocene
  • age: 48 mil. years

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