- Aix Region
- Specimen measures approx. 3/4″ – 7/8″ wide. The specimen will come in the 3.25″ x 4.25″ Riker Mount with Label as Shown.
Gastornis is an extinct genus of large flightless birds that lived during the late Paleocene and Eocene epochs of the Cenozoic era. The genus is currently thought to contain three or four distinct species, known from incomplete fossil remains, found in western-central Europe (England, Belgium, France and Germany). More complete specimens are known from a fourth, North American species, which had previously been classified in the distinct genus Diatryma. Many scientists now consider Diatryma to be so similar to the other species of Gastornis that it should also be included in that genus. A fifth species, also previously classified in its own genus, is known from China.
Gastornis species were very large birds, and have traditionally been considered to be predators of small mammals. A long-standing debate surrounding Gastornis is the interpretation of its diet. It has often been depicted as a predator of contemporary small mammals, which famously included the early horse Eohippus. However, with the size of Gastornis legs, the bird would have had to have been more agile to catch fast-moving prey than the fossils suggest it to have been. Consequently, Gastornis has been suspected to have been an ambush hunter and/or used pack hunting techniques to pursue or ambush prey; if Gastornis was a predator, it would have certainly needed some other means of hunting prey through the dense forest. Alternatively, it could have used its strong beak for eating large or strong vegetation.