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The Hesperornithiformes were flightless diving birds, which secondarily lost the ability to fly. Their feet were probably webbed to provide the power to move through the water. Their jaws are part-lined with teeth, indicating a fish-based diet. There is further evidence from this from their fossilised droppings.

Hesperornis is the most famous bird in this group. Standing at 1 metre tall, it has a long neck, reduced tail, and powerful legs. The forelimb is much reduced. Remains of Hesperornis and the related, smaller Baptornis are abundant in the Late Cretaceous Niobrara Chalk Formation of Kansas, USA. Another Hesperornithiform, Enanliornis, is known from the Mid-Cretaceous of England.

Author: Robert Davis
Last updated: 21/11/05

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