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Prehistoric 'terror bird' was a vegetarian


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#1    UM-Bot

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 11:53 AM

Once thought to have been a vicious predator, the 7ft terror bird was actually a harmless plant-eater.

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With an appearance not dissimilar to a large ostrich, the species known as Gastornis sported a large sharp beak and would have lived in what is now Europe approximately 55 to 40 million years ago. Palaeontologists examining fossil remains of the creature originally concluded that its beak and large size would have made it a formidable predator in a world dominated by small mammals.

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#2    shaddow134

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 12:39 PM

Vegetarian or not,I still wouldn't want to meet up with one in the Bush.


#3    ancient astronaut

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 06:21 PM

It amazes me how they discover all of this.


#4    spacecowboy342

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 07:25 PM

If they weren't predators, I wonder what the apex predator of the time and place was. Something must have ate them


#5    brlesq1

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 07:39 PM

Formidable looking thing, isn't he? I wonder if the beak could have been used for defense.

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#6    Troublehalf

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 07:50 PM

Well, birds such as the Elephant Bird and Moa Bird, were both vegetarian IIRC. They are so big because, if you're bigger than your predator, you're unlikely to be eaten, or it's at least harder.

Elephant Bird didn't have any predators. Moa had Haast's Eagle to deal with. Shame they died out, would love to see Haast's. Maybe that's what all the Thunder Bird sightings actually are....


#7    spacecowboy342

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Posted 01 September 2013 - 08:01 PM

View PostTroublehalf, on 01 September 2013 - 07:50 PM, said:

Well, birds such as the Elephant Bird and Moa Bird, were both vegetarian IIRC. They are so big because, if you're bigger than your predator, you're unlikely to be eaten, or it's at least harder.

Elephant Bird didn't have any predators. Moa had Haast's Eagle to deal with. Shame they died out, would love to see Haast's. Maybe that's what all the Thunder Bird sightings actually are....
Yeah I was just reading about the Cenozoic and that was when large mammalian predators began to emerge. It seems there were 5 subfamiles, 14 genera, and 18 species of these birds. I wonder if at least some could have been predators or at least scavenging omnivores like modern chickens


#8    Silver Surfer

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Posted 02 September 2013 - 12:07 PM

Good call Troublehalf Moas were around only hundreds of years ago in NZ and reached 12ft! And the Haast eagle! Man biggest eagle EvEr!! 38FT wingspan... damn.. imagine that bearing down on you! We all know it wasnt the Haast that killed the Moa out.. more like Humans.. i.e the Maori people.. the Haast died once its main food source was killed off.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moa
http://en.wikipedia....ast's_Eagle

Anyway back onto the subject of this other creature..

Edited by Silver Surfer, 02 September 2013 - 12:09 PM.


#9    Skeptic Chicken

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 04:49 AM

Well, if that wasn't one of the most terrifying article photos I've seen on the front page, I don't know what is.


#10    cacoseraph

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Posted 03 September 2013 - 04:55 AM

For purely emotional reasons I shall retain judgement until further evidence supporting the carnivore camp comes forth =P


#11    Duchess Gummybuns

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Posted 12 September 2013 - 09:59 PM

We are still trying to finalize the facts on these prehistoric animals, which shows that science s always evolving....

Or, y'know, they study the bone structure and logical sciencey stuff comes along.


#12    Infinite Playlist

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 07:53 PM

And thus my old childhood favorite, Prehistoric Planet, is once again considered invalid.

All things considered, it is an interesting find.

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#13    Sundew

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Posted 14 September 2013 - 01:14 PM

Vegetarian, maybe - harmless, not necessarily. The Cassowary is also largely vegetarian and it can disembowel you with one kick.


#14    Sundew

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Posted 14 September 2013 - 01:19 PM

View Postspacecowboy342, on 01 September 2013 - 07:25 PM, said:

If they weren't predators, I wonder what the apex predator of the time and place was. Something must have ate them

Something may have preyed on their eggs and young, but full grown they may have had no natural enemies. The elephant would be a similar modern example. Except for a few lion prides that have have specialized in killing elephants, a full grown elephant, especially a big male, has no natural enemies other than human hunters.


#15    Lava_Lady

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Posted 28 September 2013 - 10:00 PM

It looks like the bird in "The Giant Claw".... great movie, if you like them crappy.

Posted Image

Edited by Lava_Lady, 28 September 2013 - 10:05 PM.

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