Once thought to have been a vicious predator, the 7ft terror bird was actually a harmless plant-eater.
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.
Troublehalf, 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
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.
spacecowboy342, 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.