Genyornis

Name: Genyornis ‭(‬Jaw bird‭)‬.
Phonetic: Jen-ee-or-niss.
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.

       The 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 also supplementing its diet by scavenging carrion.‭ ‬This broad dietary interpretation also covers other members of the Dromornithidae group such as Bullockornis and Dromornis.
       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.

Further reading
- 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.



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