Named By: Sterling & Zietz - 1896.
Classification: Chordata, Aves, Anseriformes, Dromornithidae.
Species: G. newtoni (type).
Diet: Uncertain, refer to main text for details.
Size: Approximately 2 to 2.25 meters tall.
Known locations: Australia.
Time period: Pleistocene.
Fossil representation: Many fossil specimens. Eggshell fragments are also known.
beak of Genyornis was sharp and powerful, but
unfortunately it is
difficult to say what its diet was as it would have been useful for
either a carnivore or herbivore. It is also equally possible that
Genyornis was an omnivore, feeding from plants but
its diet by scavenging carrion. This broad dietary interpretation
also covers other members of the Dromornithidae group such as
The temporal range of animals (how long the genus lived for) is usually established by the recovery of fossils and the study of their dig sites. However Aboriginal rock art dated to around just forty thousand years ago depicts birds that are strikingly similar to Genyornis, strongly suggesting that the aboriginal people did indeed live alongside this bird. In fact Genyornis bones have even been found associated with human artefacts indicating the possibility that the early human settlers may have hunted Genyornis. This also lends some support to the theory that much of the Australian megafauna went extinct as a result of hunting and land settlement by early humans.
- The skull of dromornithid birds: anatomical evidence for their relationship to Anseriformes - Records of the South Australian Museum 31(1):51-97 - P. F. Murray and D. Megirian - 1998.
- Pleistocene Extinction of Genyornis newtoni: Human Impact on Australian Megafauna - Science 283 (5399): 205–208. - Gifford H. Miller, John W. Magee, Beverly J. Johnson, Marilyn L. Fogel, Nigel A. Spooner, Malcolm T. McCulloch & Linda K. Ayliffe - 1999.