Oct 27, 2016 I Paul Seaburn

Parrot Fossils Found at Siberia’s Mysterious Lake Baikal

The always mysterious Lake Baikal in Siberia is known for its UFOs, underwater aliens, meteorites, strange slime and enough unusual activity that Steven Spielberg has considered filming a documentary about it. Now he’s got another subject for the movie. Researchers digging on a frigid island in the lake have uncovered a 16-million-year-old fossil of a parrot – the furthest north any parrot fossils have ever been found. How did they get there and did they talk to each other about the UFOs?

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Parrots are seen in cold areas but never as far north as Siberia

According to Biology Letters, palaeontologists digging near Lake Baikal since 2010 have found tens of thousands of fossils from small animals. Sitting back in the warmer confines of the Borissiak Paleontological Institute of Russian Academy of Sciences, paleontologist Nikita Zelenkov has been sorting through the bones and recently came across a single tiny bone which connected a prehistoric parrot’s ankle to its toes. Nikita recognized it immediately as a tarsometatrsus.

Unfortunately, the bone is poorly preserved, so I cannot say much except that it was a parrot. it was small, the size of budgerigar. Probably nothing more.


Size doesn’t matter … this is still a BIG discovery. It turns out that Siberia had a subtropical climate millions of years ago, making it suitable for parrots.

This finds refers to a time interval which is called Miocene climatic optimum. That was a warm time globally.

The discovery of a parrot fossil at Lake Bakail may force paleo-ornithologists to rewrite the history of these birds. Parrot fossils in North America also date back to the Miocene climatic optimum with its subtropical temperatures. Could that warm climate have allowed parrots to survive all the way to Alaska? If so, they could conceivably have crossed over the Beringia land bridge – flying west in the opposite direction of the humans, mammoths and other creatures heading east towards the southern parts of the North American continent.

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A snow parrot in New Zealand

That explains how the parrots got to Siberia. Why did they end up at the mysterious Lake Baikal? Was it for some reason even warmer than the surrounding area – an oasis for tropical birds warmed by meteorites or alien heaters? Was there something in the lake that was picked up by their avian homing or migratory brain centers?

Dr. Zelenkov plans to keep on digging through the bones looking for more clues.

… we will continue excavating fossils in Siberia. This work must result in something similarly interesting in future. At least I expect more (better preserved) bones to get an idea of the relationships of this Siberian parrot.

Perhaps he’ll find that the shopkeeper in Monty Python’s famous “Dead Parrot” sketch was right. This parrot was just resting at Lake Baikal – a prehistoric ancestor of a Norwegian blue “pining for the fjords.”

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It's hibernating


Paul Seaburn

Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.

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