Diatryma


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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Diatryma

 

an extinct fossil bird of the order Diatrymae. It was a cursorial bird with a height about 2 M and was similar to an ostrich. The wings were atrophied, and the legs were strong, with four toes. It had a relatively short neck and a large head, with a massive beak. The Diatryma was the bitter enemy of ancient mammals. It has been found in Eocene deposits in North America and Europe.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Early palaeontologists studying Diatryma fossils concluded that the giant bird was a predator because of its size, huge head and large beak.
The first Diatryma skeleton found in the US was preserved alongside bones of tiny horses and other small mammals.
However, Diatryma also had relatively short legs, leading others to suggest it could not have run fast enough to capture prey, and was therefore a herbivore.
The researchers think the Diatryma could cut through flesh and even possibly crush bone.
Although he thinks Diatryma may have occasionally supped on animal flesh, Andors says several pieces of evidence suggest the huge bird primarily ate leafy plant matter--a particularly rare diet among birds.
Andors notes Diatryma shares several features in common with existing herbivorous birds, many of which are also large and flightless.