World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0000320980
Reproduction Date:

Title: Genyornis  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Dromornithidae, Cuddie Springs, Quaternary birds of Australia, Pleistocene birds, Ilbandornis
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Temporal range: Late Pleistocene
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Anseriformes
Family: Dromornithidae
Genus: Genyornis
Species: G. newtoni
Binomial name
Genyornis newtoni
Stirling & Zietz, 1896

Genyornis newtoni was a large, flightless bird that lived in Australia. Over two metres in height, they became extinct 50±5 thousand years ago. Many other species became extinct in Australia around that time, coinciding with the arrival of humans.

It is not clear to what degree Dromornithidae were carnivores. The massive, crushing beaks of at least of some species suggest that they were a combination of predators and scavengers, much like today's hyenas. Their closest living relatives are waterfowl.

A study has been performed in which more than 700 Genyornis eggshell fragments were dated.[1] Through this, it was determined that Genyornis declined and became extinct over a short period—too short for it to be plausibly explained by climate change. The authors considered this to be a very good indication that the entire mass extinction event in Australia was due to human activity, rather than climate change. However, there is a counter argument that suggests the pattern of long term extinctions of mega fauna as the climate became drier and more arid towards the Last Glacial Maximum, affecting primary vegetation types, may also have been a factor in Genyornis extinction. [2]

In May 2010, archaeologists announced the rediscovery of an Aboriginal rock art painting, possibly 40,000 years old, at the Nawarla Gabarnmung rock art site in the Northern Territory, that depicts two of the birds in detail.[3] Late survival of Genyornis in temperate south west Victoria has also recently been suggested, based on dateable Aboriginal traditions. [4]


  1. ^ Miller, G. H.; Magee, J. W.; Johnson, B. J.; Fogel, M. L.; Spooner, N. A.; McCulloch, M. T.; Ayliffe, L. K. (1999-01-08). "Pleistocene Extinction of Genyornis newtoni: Human Impact on Australian Megafauna". Science 283 (5399): 205–208.  
  2. ^ doi:10.1016/j.quascirev.2006.03.005
  3. ^ "Megafauna cave painting could be 40,000 years old". 2010-05-31. Retrieved 2010-05-31. ; Gunn, R. C. et al. "What bird is that?" Australian Archaeology 73(2011):1-12.
  4. ^ Rupert Gerritsen (2011) Beyond the Frontier: Explorations in Ethnohistory, Canberra: Batavia Online Publishing. pp.52-69 ISBN 978-0-9872141-4-0
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.