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Ancient 500-pound bird was eaten by humans

Posted on Saturday, 30 January, 2016 | Comment icon 18 comments

An artist's impression of Genyornis newtoni. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Nobu Tamura
New evidence suggests that Genyornis newtoni was wiped out because it was tasty and easy to catch.
It's no coincidence that when humans first arrived in Australia more than 50,000 years ago, a significant percentage of its unique inhabitants started to disappear shortly afterwards.

One of these, a 7ft flightless bird known as Genyornis newtoni, would have likely represented a delicious and convenient food source - as would its enormous eggs.

Now for the first time scientists have been able to piece together what brought about this giant bird's untimely demise thanks to the discovery of prehistoric egg shell fragments with scorch marks indicative of a man-made cooking fire.

"We can’t come up with a scenario that a wildfire could produce those tremendous gradients in heat," said study co-author Gifford Miller. "We instead argue that the conditions are consistent with early humans harvesting Genyornis eggs, cooking them over fires, and then randomly discarding the eggshell fragments in and around their cooking fires."

It therefore appears that, like many of the other gigantic creatures that once roamed the Australian wilderness, Genyornis was hunted to extinction soon after humans first arrived in the country.

Being large, tasty and fearless, it seems, is not a good combination when humans are around.

Source: Discovery News | Comments (18)

Tags: Genyornis newtoni, Australia

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #9 Posted by Aardvark-DK on 30 January, 2016, 18:45
Gotta need a lot of fries for that bird...and sauce..remember the sauce...
Comment icon #10 Posted by Ell on 30 January, 2016, 19:10
Good suggestions. Is there anyone willing to crowdfund me to clone the species?
Comment icon #11 Posted by Mark56 on 30 January, 2016, 21:30
When I read this the first thing that came to mind was " The Flintstones" intro. , where the waitress sets the giant rack of ribs on the car door, and it tips the car over.
Comment icon #12 Posted by Lucas Cooper Merrin on 31 January, 2016, 7:36
Makes you wonder if we were intentionally put here to wipe out certain fauna, we are a natural disaster, humanity its self is the mass extinction event this time round! im beginning to think that the earth is a mere game to far more advanced race
Comment icon #13 Posted by Daffy123 on 31 January, 2016, 23:19
I want a 500 pound poultry roast. I was born in the wrong times.
Comment icon #14 Posted by Myles on 1 February, 2016, 14:05
Makes you wonder if we were intentionally put here to wipe out certain fauna, we are a natural disaster, humanity its self is the mass extinction event this time round! im beginning to think that the earth is a mere game to far more advanced race With that in mind, should we be as destructive as possible? If this is what mother nature wants, we should comply. Not really. Just playing devils advocate. A huge slow moving animal like that is easy prey. Too bad it didn't survive long enough for man to herd them up.
Comment icon #15 Posted by third_eye on 1 February, 2016, 15:25
If only the freezer was invented then , the big bird would still be with us ~
Comment icon #16 Posted by jps on 4 February, 2016, 18:47
Man at walk through: "Yea, I'l have the McGenyornis with a side of primal taters and a splash of diet swampwater." McOutback employee: "Sorry sir, even though we opened only yesterday we just ate the entire species into extinction! Can I ofeer you the McDodo deluxe instead?"
Comment icon #17 Posted by DingoLingo on 8 February, 2016, 14:05
if it tasted like Emu it would be nice.. I like emu
Comment icon #18 Posted by Myles on 8 February, 2016, 14:34
I like emu I like you too

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