More about Norwegian Blue Parrots of Monty Python fame…turn out there actual used to be some: Norwegian Blue parrot really DID exist – but now they are all 'stiff, bereft of life and ex-parrots'
Dr David Waterhouse, a fossil expert and Python fan, has found that parrots not only lived in Scandinavia 55million years ago, but probably evolved there before spreading into the southern hemisphere.
His discovery was based on a preserved wing bone of a previously unknown species, given the scientific name Mopsitta Tanta – and now nicknamed the Norwegian Blue.
Dr Waterhouse, 29, said of Mopsitta Tanta: "Obviously, we were dealing with a bird that is bereft of life, but the tricky bit was establishing it was a parrot."
He was studying for a PhD at the University of Dublin in 2005 when he visited a museum in Jutland and spotted a fossilised 2in-long humerus – appropriately enough, the funny bone – among bird remains which had been found near an open-cast mine.
Research has now confirmed the bone was part of an upper wing from a bird in the parrot family. Although the mine was in Denmark, the birds would also have lived in what is now Norway.
Dr Waterhouse, now assistant curator of natural history at the Norfolk Museums Service, said: "All that remained was a single upper wing bone, but it contained characteristic features that showed it was clearly from a member of the parrot family, about the size of a yellow-crested cockatoo.
"It isn't as unbelievable as you might think that a parrot was found so far north.
"When Mopsitta was alive, most of northern Europe was experiencing a warm period, with a large shallow tropical lagoon covering much of Germany, South-East England and Denmark.
I've got further dialogue going through my head:
"A parrot? In Scandinavia?"
"Well, it probably escaped from a zoo."
"Isn't very likely…."
(As I clearly stated in an earlier post…I'm a bit of a dork.)