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Giant prehistoric bird was 'gentle herbivore'

Posted on Sunday, 25 November, 2012 | Comment icon 5 comments | News tip by: Still Waters


Image credit: CC 3.0 Postdlf

 
Despite it's size and fierce looks the giant bird Diatryma may not have been a carnivore after all.

With a huge beak and standing at up to 7ft in height, Diatryma had long been considered to be a dangerous, meat-eating scavenger that nobody in their right mind would ever want to mess with. Sometimes referred to as being "the bird that replaced dinosaurs as the top predator", it turns out that far from being a flesh-eating monster Diatryma was actually a gentle herbivore that would have only eaten plants.

The revelation was made following the discovery of footprints from the species that showed no signs of raptor-like claws or other features you would expect to find in a carnivore. "[The tracks] clearly show that the animals did not have long talons, but rather short toenails," said David Tucker from Western Washington University. "This argues against an animal that catches prey and uses claws to hold it down. Carnivorous birds all have sharp, long talons."

"Footprints believed to have been made by the giant bird Diatryma indicate that it was a "gentle herbivore" and not a fierce carnivore, scientists say."

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 Source: BBC News


  Discuss: View comments (5)

   


 
Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Simbi Laveau on 23 November, 2012, 15:54
It's cute !
Comment icon #2 Posted by ealdwita on 23 November, 2012, 16:31
Gentle or not, there's no chance I'd be poking around in its nest looking for eggs for my breakfast!
Comment icon #3 Posted by Lava_Lady on 26 November, 2012, 1:15
It does look pretty fierce! But those tiny little wings are cute!
Comment icon #4 Posted by thewild on 30 November, 2012, 22:43
We will never know. But I bet it ate whatever it wanted to!
Comment icon #5 Posted by Abramelin on 3 December, 2012, 6:11
Footprints believed to have been made by the giant bird Diatryma indicate that it was a "gentle herbivore" and not a fierce carnivore, scientists say. A team of researchers from Washington, US, examined tracks uncovered in a landslide in 2009. Previous investigations have suggested the giant bird was a carnivorous predator or scavenger. But the absence of raptor-like claws in the footprints supports the theory that Diatryma was not a meat-eater. http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/20413665 On the same webpage you see a link to these guys: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entelodont They had no claws eithe... [More]


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