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."
View: Full article | Source: BBC News
Discuss: View comments (6)