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Genyornis newtoni

Genyornis newtoni

Temporal occurrence
126,000 to 47,000 years
Land vertebrates (Tetrapoda)
Birds (aves)
New-jawed birds (Neognathae)
Goose birds (Anseriformes)
Thunderbirds (Dromornithidae)
Scientific name
Stirling & Zietz , 1896

Genyornis is a genus of thunderbirds (Dromornithidae) that wasextinctin the Pleistocene and livedin Australia and suddenly became extinct about 47,000 years ago. The only known species Genyornis newtoni was named after the English zoologist and ornithologist Alfred Newton . Genyornis is the only genus of thunderbird that still lives in the Pleistocene. Fossils of the genus have been found in all Australian states. Genyornis is also the only species of thunderbird to have a skeleton found in an anatomical context.


Genyornis was 2.0 to 2.15 meters high, weighed about 290 kg and was therefore a medium-sized thunderbird, smaller than Bullockornis planei and Dromornis stirtoni but larger than Ilbandornis woodburnei . The skull of Genyornis was conical, the beak less high and less flattened laterally than that of Bullockornis and Dromornis . It is likely that the bird ingested gastroliths to break up the food mainly consisting of leaves that were found with some skeletons.

die out

Research on burned Genyornis eggshells found in more than 200 locations across Australia shows that the population suddenly collapsed about 47,000 years ago. Genyornis likely became extinct because Aboriginal people collected their eggs, fried them in fires, and ate them.


  • Peter F. Murray: Magnificent Mihirungs: The Colossal Flightless Birds of the Australian Dreamtime. Indiana University Press, 2003, ISBN 0253342821

Individual evidence

  1. Gifford Miller, John Magee, Mike Smith, Nigel Spooner, Alexander Baynes, Scott Lehman, Marilyn Fogel, Harvey Johnston, Doug Williams, Peter Clark, Christopher Florian, Richard Holst, Stephen DeVogel. Human predation contributed to the extinction of the Australian megafaunal bird Genyornis newtoni ∼47 ka. Nature Communications , 2016; 7: 10496 DOI: 10.1038 / ncomms10496

Web links

Commons : Genyornis  - collection of images, videos and audio files