Gastornis — Giant 6-Foot Tall Flightless Bird That Used To Live In The Arctic Circle

February 12, 2016 in Animals & Insects, Fossils

While it’s long been known that at various points in the past the Arctic (and the Arctic Ocean) has been considerably warmer, and home to animals such as crocodiles, camels, tropical birds, etc, there is still quite a lot that remains unknown about the past history of the region. The recent discovery of fossil remains of a giant 6-foot tall flightless bird known as Gastornis — a relative of similar birds mostly known from fossil remains found much further south — is a case in point.

Picture a giant, likely very loud, bird with a head the size of a horse’s and a beak big and powerful enough to crack your skull open… Walking around during the 24-hour daylight of the Arctic midsummer. Or perhaps during the permanent midnight of the Arctic winter (which was still quite a warm season, at the time).

Tall flightless bird

Quite an image right? The past was quite strange — probably far more so than people can today readily imagine (or maybe remember is a better word?).
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