This order is an extinct order of aquatic foot-propelled divers. When discovered around 1870, they helped fill in some of the gaps between modern birds and Archaeopteryx as they had teeth, a trait modern birds don't share. They were large birds (up to 5 feet in length), whose legs were placed very far back on the body and thus, made them great in the water but were probably very awkward on land. Their wings were reduced and probably useless for flight. Several of these birds have been discovered including the two most famous Hesperornis.
Introduction to the Hesperonithiformes (Berkely)
By Rob Nelson
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