Document Detail

Isotopic and anatomical evidence of an herbivorous diet in the Early Tertiary giant bird Gastornis. Implications for the structure of Paleocene terrestrial ecosystems.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  24563098     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
The mode of life of the early Tertiary giant bird Gastornis has long been a matter of controversy. Although it has often been reconstructed as an apex predator feeding on small mammals, according to other interpretations, it was in fact a large herbivore. To determine the diet of this bird, we analyze here the carbon isotope composition of the bone apatite from Gastornis and contemporaneous herbivorous mammals. Based on (13)C-enrichment measured between carbonate and diet of carnivorous and herbivorous modern birds, the carbonate δ(13)C values of Gastornis bone remains, recovered from four Paleocene and Eocene French localities, indicate that this bird fed on plants. This is confirmed by a morphofunctional study showing that the reconstructed jaw musculature of Gastornis was similar to that of living herbivorous birds and unlike that of carnivorous forms. The herbivorous Gastornis was the largest terrestrial tetrapod in the Paleocene biota of Europe, unlike the situation in North America and Asia, where Gastornis is first recorded in the early Eocene, and the largest Paleocene animals were herbivorous mammals. The structure of the Paleocene terrestrial ecosystems of Europe may have been similar to that of some large islands, notably Madagascar, prior to the arrival of humans.
D Angst; C Lécuyer; R Amiot; E Buffetaut; F Fourel; F Martineau; S Legendre; A Abourachid; A Herrel
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Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2014-2-22
Journal Detail:
Title:  Die Naturwissenschaften     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1432-1904     ISO Abbreviation:  Naturwissenschaften     Publication Date:  2014 Feb 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2014-2-24     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0400767     Medline TA:  Naturwissenschaften     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
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