Its head was the size of a horse

By Alex Heigl
Updated February 18, 2016 04:10 PM

A team of scientists from the U.S. and China have confirmed the existence of a giant prehistoric bird that existed over 50 million years ago.

The bird, known as Gastornis, was six feet tall, and weighed several hundred pounds. It did have feathers and giant wings, but it was a flightless bird; and previous reports that suggested it was a predator turned out to be false — researchers now believe the bird was a vegan, and used its giant beak (its head was the size of a horse’s) to tear at foliage, nuts, seeds and hard fruit.

The confirmation came four decades after the initial discovery of the bird’s toe bone in China. American scientists discovered another fossil from the bird in Wyoming that matched the 40-year-old sample, causing the scientists from China to re-examine their find.

Fifty-three million years ago, the Arctic wasn’t the Arctic we know and love. Its environment was actually more similar to that of today’s cypress swamps in the Southeast U.S. And there used to be a really big, vegan bird wandering around, too. So, bonus?