Fossil lake provides the earliest look at well-preserved parrots in the fossil record; four primitive parrot species can be found at the site.
Today there are nearly 400 species of parrots living in tropical to subtropical regions around the world.
Modern parrots have strong, broad, curved bills that allow them to exert tremendous biting pressure in order to feed on nuts and large seeds. But the primitive Fossil Lake specimens, including this Cyrilavis colburnorum species, lack this distinctive beak—perhaps they had a less specialized diet.
Specimens: Cyrilavis colburnorum (left) FMNH PA754, (top right) FMNH PA722 (bottom right) FMNH PA766
Locality: Fossil Butte Member of Green River Formation
Credit: Photo courtesy L. Grande