|Gastornis at the NMNH|
|Reconstruction with feathers|
Members of the Gastornis genus were quite large, standing as tall ad 6.5ft (2m). They were flightless birds like our modern Ratites, and they had huge, powerful legs and gigantic beaks. There is some debate over whether they were herbivores (using the beaks to crush nuts like Parrots do), or carnivores... though from my findings the carnivore theory is more popular, due to the talons on their feet. It is thought that they may have hunted in packs and ambushed prey.
One mystery surrounding Gastornis is what its feathers looked like. Some speculate that they had hair-like feathers akin to the Cassowary, but no fossil findings have confirmed or denied this so far.
Status : Extinct since the Eocene Epoch, 45 million years ago
Location : Europe and North America
Size : Height up to 6.5ft (2m)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Aves -- Order : †Gastornithiformes
Family : †Gastornithidae -- Genus : †Gastornis