Biomechanics of the jaw apparatus of the gigantic Eocene bird Diatryma: implications for diet and mode of life

  title={Biomechanics of the jaw apparatus of the gigantic Eocene bird Diatryma: implications for diet and mode of life},
  author={Lawrence M. Witmer and Kenneth D. Rose},
  pages={95 - 120}
Discovery of several new specimens of the gigantic Eocene ground bird Diatryma gigantea from the Willwood Formation of northwestern Wyoming, has prompted an analysis of its feeding apparatus and an assessment of the mode of life of this unusual bird. Diatryma exhibits many of the features predicted by biomechanical models to occur in animals delivering large dorsoventral bite forces. Similarly, the mandible of Diatryma, which was modeled as a curved beam, appears well equipped to withstand such… 

Jaw biomechanics in the South American aetosaur Neoaetosauroides engaeus

The function of the jaw apparatus and the possible dietary habits of the aetosaur Neoaetosauroides engaeus from the Triassic of South America were analyzed in comparison with Northern Hemisphere aetosaurs and the living short-snouted crocodile Alligator mississippiensis.

Jaw Mechanics and Evolutionary Paleoecology of Megaherbivorous Dinosaurs from the Dinosaur Park Formation (Upper Campanian) of Alberta, Canada

There is tentative evidence to suggest that nodosaurids had more powerful bites than ankylosaurs, but the overall mechanical diversity among megaherbivores from the Dinosaur Park Formation is low, suggesting that differential jaw mechanics could have played only a subsidiary role in niche partitioning.

Postcranial Analysis of a Carnivoran-Like Archaic Ungulate: The Case of Arctocyon primaevus (Arctocyonidae, Mammalia) from the Late Paleocene of France

  • C. Argot
  • Environmental Science
    Journal of Mammalian Evolution
  • 2012
Arctocyonidae, which evolved towards incipient saber-toothed canines combined with cheek teeth compatible with an omnivorous diet, and which show a postcranium that is morphologically more similar to carnivorans than to ungulates, represent a mosaic of features that is of particular interest in the evolution of mammals.

Skull Shape, Masticatory Apparatus, and Diet of Vassallia and Holmesina (Mammalia: Xenarthra: Pampatheriidae): When Anatomy Constrains Destiny

The various skeletal and dental features analyzed suggest that the masticatory apparatus of the pampatheres was more powerful and efficient in transverse chewing than in dasypodids and that they were primarily grazers consuming mainly coarse vegetation.

Functional Significance of Anatomical Accommodation in the Skull of Common Hoopoe, Upupa Epops (Bucerotiformes, Upupidae)

Modifications of the cranial skeleton of common hoopoe and jaw ligaments consider features of adaptation for probe mechanism, as well as exhibit its phylogenetic relationship with other avian species.


Signs are that the Plio-Pleistocene paleobiogeographic distribution of pampatheres is correlated with masticatory function (and hence diet), with P. typum, the species best adapted for grinding coarse vegetation, occurring in the more arid Pampean regions of South America.

Isotopic and anatomical evidence of an herbivorous diet in the Early Tertiary giant bird Gastornis. Implications for the structure of Paleocene terrestrial ecosystems

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

Ontogenetic scaling of cranial morphology and bite-force generation in the loggerhead musk turtle

It is found that bite force scaled with negative allometry relative to lower beak depth and symphyseal length, indicating that the development of high bite forces requires a disproportionately more robust mandible.

Disparity and geometry of the skull in Archosauria (Reptilia: Diapsida)

Results reveal the existence of a constructional skull geometry, highlighting the importance of the deviance of the structural design from adaptive explanations on craniofacial morphology in macroevolution.

Functional morphology of the cranio‐mandibular complex of the Guira cuckoo (Aves)

The present study compares available behavioral and dietary data obtained from the literature with novel results from functional morphological analyses of the cranio‐mandibular complex of the Guira cuckoo (Guira guira) to understand its relationship with the zoophagous trophic habit of this species.



On the Mechanical Implications of the Avian Skull and Their Bearing on the Evolution and Classification of Birds

Preliminary investigations dealing with the relationship existing between the morphology of the bird's skull and its kinetic possibilities, appear to show that the thecodont ancestors of Birds, as

Cranial kinesis in the late Cretaceous birds Hesperornis and Parahesperornis

-A recently discovered skull of the Cretaceous toothed diving bird Hesperornis permits evaluation of previous descriptions of the skull, analysis of cranial kinesis in hesperornithid birds, and

Odontornithes; a Monograph of the Extinct Toothed Birds of North America

WEST from the valley of the Mississippi the stratified formations which underlie the prairie region spread over thousands of square miles nearly as horizontal as when they were deposited. Here and

Origin of the mammalian feeding complex: models and mechanisms

The bifulcral model clearly establishes the dynamic relationships among muscle alignment, bite point and the resultant patterns of mechanical stress at the craniomandibular joint (CMJ), and reveals potentially important modes of competitive interaction between otherwise seemingly synergistic jaw muscles.

Covariation patterns in the postcranial skeleton of moas (Aves, Dinornithidae): A factor analytic study

The covariation patterns of the postcranial skeleton in eight species of moas (Aves, Dinornithidae) from the Pleistocene of New Zealand are described using multiple factor analysis. Rotation schemes

The Hindlimb Elements of the Maas (Aves, Dinornithidae): A Multivariate Assessment of Size and Shape

A multivariate morphometric analysis of size and shape was performed on the hindlimb skeletal elements of the extinct New Zealand moas (Dinornithidae) using standard allometric curve‐fitting against body size.

The avian mandible as a structural girder.

Functional significance of the mandibular symphysis

Interspecific comparisons suggest that leaf eaters can resist greater dorsoventral shear than fruit or insect eaters, but no correlations exist between diet and bending or antero‐posterior shear, which suggests that chewing leaves requires larger biting forces.

Bone strength in small mammals and bipedal birds: do safety factors change with body size?

  • A. Biewener
  • Biology
    The Journal of experimental biology
  • 1982
The finding that either the limb bones of small animals are much stronger than they need to be, or that other aspects of locomotion act to decrease peak locomotory stresses in larger animals is suggested.

Fossil History of the Terrestrial Carnivora

Carnivores, because of their position on the ecological pyramid, are considerably rarer than their prey. They are also often intelligent and solitary animals, so that their chances of dying in a