After the Dinosaurs died off, Birds became the dominant species, thereby ushering in the Age of Birds. The first giant Bird to emerge in this new age was Gastornis (Diatryma). During the Paleocene epoch and early Eocene epoch (65 million years ago to 40 million years ago), this giant flightless Bird ruled the forests of Europe and North America.
Gastornis stood about seven feet (2.2. meters) tall, and had a huge skull as big as a modern Horse. The most notable feature of this giant Bird was his sharp hooked beak. After sharpening his beak on rocks, Gastornis used it as a hatchet, slashing small Mammals with it. After watching his prey bleed to death, He would dine on the unfortunate Animal.
However, there is much discussion over what Gastornis actually used his massive beak for. Some scientists think that Gastornis used it to scavenge for meat and to crack bones. Others suggest that perhaps He cracked nuts with it much like Modern Parrots do. Some scientists countered that idea with the argument that his beak was too powerful a beak for Gastornis to subsist only on plants.
Gastornis and his beak are at the nexus of the inner mysteries of nature and the limits of our knowledge. We can only imagine how He lived, and ponder the mysteries that He presents. Was Gastornis a carnivore or an omnivore, and why does it matter? Whatever the case may be, his beak was something to be reckoned with by anyone’s standards.
Gastornis urges us to expand our intellectual curiosity to know more. With Him acting as our guide, we can determine which of our ideas are true and which are false. Discarding the ones that turn out to be false, we can then develop new exciting ideas to test. With his fearsome beak, Gastornis leads on to direct us beyond the limits of what we think we know. Follow Him, armed with your intellectual curiosity.
- Diatryma was the North American name for Gastornis.
- Although Gastornis resembled the Terror Birds (Phorusrhacids) of South America, the two bird species are not related.