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A BIT MORE ON DIATRYMA??



> This matches my impression - but I must point out that recent research
> suggests that Diatryma was, not, after all, a carnivore but a rather
> sluggish herbivore.  I have no idea if this is right or not, but there it is.
> --
> Ronald I. Orenstein                          

Well, having read around on this, I can't see _Diatryma_ as a strict herbivore.
As outlined in the kinetics paper, previous interpretations of the bird as a
grass... err.. cropper.. (ahem)* or fruit eater are untenable. Carrion eating
seems plausible, given the awesome skull, but there are problems here too (i.e.
no flightless true scavengers). There has been a slight shift away from
carnivory as an option for the bird, purely because it wasn't as gracile as
other big birds. 

OK, so we have a bird that lives around watercourses and marshy ground, has a
tremendously powerful skull, and can't run too fast. The obvious conclusion is
that _Diatryma_ was a 'turtlevore'.... OK, I'm kidding. However, I reckon that
a kind of small water-coarse vertebrates diet could be a likely possibility (_D_
is well adapted for crunching through croc or turtle armour), perhaps with a bit
of opportunistic carrion feeding in there too.

In any case, carnivore or not, if I were a small ratite - I wouldn't get in its
way.

BTW, when you read the word 'hoatzin', remember it's pronounced 'wattzin'. The
Madagascan viverrid _Crytoprocta ferox_ is pronounced 'foosh', not 'fossa'.

*moa joke of course!

DARREN NAISH