Giant Prehistoric Bird Crushed Seeds, Not Little Horses
If the huge bird were still alive, Gastornis would be an ornithophobe’s nightmare. Equipped with an extraordinarily deep beak, this six-foot-tall bird was among the largest creatures to roam the forests of prehistoric Europe and North America. And it’s exactly that imposing avian aspect which spawned a long-running fossil meme about the ancient bird.
While not so huge as the largest non-avian dinosaurs, Gastornis was nevertheless a giant in its Paleocene and Eocene heyday between 55 and 40 million years ago. In Europe the bird towered over the mammals who inhabited the same forests – the largest herbivores and carnivores of the day were about the size of a German shepherd, with many being considerably smaller. (In North America, where Gastornis