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Gastornithidae

Birds Guide

Gastornithidae

From Wikipedia the free encyclopedia, by MultiMedia

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Gastornithes
 
Fossil range: Late Paleocene-Eocene
Gastornis fossil skeleton
 
Gastornis fossil skeleton
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
 
Phylum: Chordata
 
Class: Aves
 
Order: Anseriformes or Gastornithiformes
 
Family: Gastornithidae
Hébert, 1855
Genera
  • Gastornis
  • Zhongyuanus
  • Omorhamphus

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 (DIE-a-TREE-ma), 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 a 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 possibly carnivorous.

The closest living relatives of Gastornis are the Anseriformes, which includes waterfowl and screamers. In fact, gastornithids might well be anseriforms themselves.

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

Gastornis appeared in the CGI series Walking with Beasts. It also made an appearance in the 2006 CGI family film Ice Age: The Meltdown.

References

  • Hébert, E. (1855): Note sur le tibia du Gastornis parisiensis. C.R. Acad. Sc. Paris 40: 579-582. [Article in French]

External link


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Birds Guide, made by MultiMedia | Free content and software

This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.


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