Gastornis

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Gastornis
Conservation status: Fossil
Missing image
Diatryma.jpg



Diatryma fossil skeleton
National Museum of Natural History, Washington, DC
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Diatrymiformes
Family:Gastornithidae
Genus:Gastornis

Gastornis is an extinct genus of large flightless birds that lived during the late Paleocene and Eocene periods of the Cenozoic. Gastornis lived in Europe, but it had an extremely close relative in North America; the North American bird is often called Diatryma, but experts now believe they both belong in the Gastornis genus.

Gastornis measured on average 1.75m tall, while "Diatryma" was 2m tall. It had an remarkably huge beak, which may mean that it was carnivorous (although the beak may simply have been used for sexual display and probably was better suited for crushing than for tearing or cutting action). Similar (but unrelated) gigantic birds were the Phorusrhacoids with South American origin and the Australian Dromornithidae (Genyornis). The former were certainly and the latter probably carnivorous.

The closest living relatives of Gastornis are the Rallidae family, which includes crakes and moorhens.

Gastornis' name means 'Gaston's bird'; it is named after Gaston Planté, who discovered the first fossils at Geiseltal, Germany.

External link

Template:Bird-stubde:Gastornis nl:Gastornis

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