Mihirung Genyornis newtoni
This giant flightless bird compared
in size to the biggest of New Zealand's extinct moas and
Madagascar's extinct elephant birds—the largest birds that ever
lived. But anatomically it is different from all other birds, including
Australia's living emus. Altogether, at least six genera and eight
species of mihirungs—which are commonly known as thunderbirds—lived in Australia in the past 15
million years; all are extinct. What role humans might have played in their
extinction remains unknown, although people and mihirungs did overlap.
Indeed, one Aboriginal tribe had a name for "giant emus"—mihirung
paringmal. Here, a mihirung collects pebbles from a Genyornis carcass; the swallowed pebbles help break down food.