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Was the “demon duck of doom” a “huge evolutionary experiment”?


Or did copywriters just get carried away?

Back when mega wombats, sheep-sized echidnas, and marsupial lions roamed the ancient lands of Australia, there also lived a gigantic flightless bird. Known by some as the ‘demon duck of doom’, Dromornis stirtoni is described by paleontologist Trevor Worthy as an “extreme evolutionary experiment”.

“It would appear these giant birds were probably what evolution produced when it gave chickens free reign [sic] in Australian environmental conditions,” explained Worthy, a researcher from Flinders University in Australia.

Tessa Koumoundouros, “These Huge ‘Demon Ducks’ With Squished Brains Were an Extreme Evolutionary Experiment” at ScienceAlert (March 26, 2021)

Evolution is described in this story as if it was some sort of lesser god, making lower level decisions.

The species Dromornis stirtoni persisted for 25 million years so it clearly wasn’t a “monster.” Some species were just big, the biggest reaching approximately 500 kg. But then, there was a lot of vegetation to eat so maybe a small organism like the mallard duck or the Canada goose would not have done the job.

Don’t animal size limits relate to environment constraints?

Question: If you don’t believe that evolution is an intelligence, what does a “huge evolutionary experiment” mean?

Maybe they were this: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4514660/ EDTA

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