|From the Smithsonian|
15 June 2012
So Many Giant Evil Birds to Choose From
I had to do at least one giant evil bird in this series of birds. It would be uninteresting if I only did ancient fossil birds that were pretty to look at or fun to watch them swim. Therefore, I picked a bird from that group known as the "Terror Birds" of the Paleocene-Eocene epochs. This week's specific Terror Bird is a giant from Central Europe known as Diatryma or more commonly called Gastornis. Gastornis was named in 1855 and a later fossil discovered in North America in 1870 and described by E.D. Cope was named Diatryma. The fact that the animal spanned two continents is fairly impressive in itself. The fact that this bird was 5.7 to 6.6 feet tall is frightening. Many specimens exist, as do many species, and even trace fossils, foot prints and the like, exist which are attributed to Gastornis.