Bullockornis

Name: Bullockornis ‭(‬Ox bird‭)‬.
Phonetic: Bul-lock-or-niss.
Named By: P.‭ ‬Rich‭ ‬-‭ ‬1979.
Classification: Chordata,‭ ‬Aves,‭ ‬Anseriformes,‭ ‬Dromornithidae.
Species: B.‭ ‬planei‭ (‬type‭)‬.
Diet: Probably carnivorous.
Size: Up to‭ 2.5‭ ‬meters tall.‭ ‬Estimated weight of‭ ‬250‭ ‬kg.
Known locations: Australia,‭ ‬Northern Territory,‭ ‬Bullock Creek - Camfield Beds Formation.
Time period: Langhian of the Miocene.
Fossil representation: Skull.

       Although the name actually means‭ '‬ox bird‭'‬,‭ ‬Bullockornis is better known in popular culture as the‭ '‬Demon duck of doom‭'‬.‭ ‬This is in part because Bullockornis is thought to be more closely related to ducks and geese than any other group of birds.‭ ‬Although Bullockornis was without doubt a large bird,‭ ‬it was not named for being the size of an ox but instead for being discovered in Bullock Creek.
       Bullockornis is thought to have been a carnivore,‭ ‬an idea that is based upon the sharp beak that could have easily sliced through flesh.‭ ‬No one is certain what kind of animals Bullockornis preferred,‭ ‬but its large size meant that only the largest of animals could avoid being off the menu.‭ ‬Conversely however the group that Bullockornis belongs too,‭ ‬the Dromornithidae,‭ ‬all have sharp shearing beaks,‭ ‬but may have actually used these beaks for cropping vegetation.‭ ‬Another depiction of the group is that they may have been opportunistic omnivores that had no preference for either meat or plants.
       Bullockornis is a good example of the Australian megafauna of the Miocene period,‭ ‬but it was not the only large bird from Australia with Dromornis and Genyornis also being quite well known.

Further reading
- The Dromornithidae, an extinct family of large ground birds endemic to Australia - Bureau of National Resources, Geology and Geophysics Bulletin 184: 1–196. - Patricia Vickers-Rich - 1979.


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