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STL Science Center
21 December 2015
The Proposed Diet
Many reasons exist as to why the giant Anseriform Gastornis is hypothesized to have eaten many little horses daily, or weekly. Chief among these reasons is, of course, that the enormous solid and akinetic bill of Gastornis was a perfectly suitable weapon for concussing or otherwise subduing the earliest forms of horses. When we say early horses or small horses we are talking about the dog-sized (think somewhere between beagle and cocker spaniel if that helps) Eohippus that was still able to navigate the forests and enclosed areas of the Eocene. Later horses could not manage forests as well due to their larger sizes. Eohippus was still hypothesized to have a small amount, at least, of speed associated with its locomotion. Gastornis' slower speed led to the hypothesis that the giant bird was an ambush predator, surprising the small horses and using its solid beak as a sledgehammer to know the horses down and disabling them. There are representations of this all over the internet. The most notable and memorable is probably the one that the most people have seen. View the hunt below and bear in mind that this is a reasonable hypothesis for this bill, but there may be another viable hypothesis which we will attempt to explore tomorrow, granted that there are enough papers to discuss diet well. The strangest thing about this video is actually that the killing stroke has been edited out a bit.