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Palaeontology

New species of terror bird discovered

April 11, 2015 | Comment icon 12 comments



Terror birds were vicious and highly effective predators. Image Credit: CC 2.0 Jim Linwood
Palaeontologists have successfully unearthed the most complete skeleton of a terror bird ever found.
Standing three meters in height and sporting a vicious hooked beak, these terrifying prehistoric flightless birds were a common sight in South America around 3.5 million years ago.

Resembling a cross between a modern day ostrich and a therapod dinosaur, the terror birds would have used their sharp beak and claws to effortlessly catch and feast upon their prey. It is believed that they disappeared around 2.5 million years ago due to increased competition from predatory mammals.

Now researchers have unearthed a host of new clues about these prehistoric predators thanks to the discovery of the near-complete skeleton of a new species on a beach in Mar del Plata, Argentina.

The specimen was particularly unique as it still had a complete trachea and mouth palate.
Scientists now believe that terror birds would have been able to hear and communicate in low frequency sounds, an advantage that would have helped them pick up the footsteps of their prey while also enabling them to communicate with one another over long distances.

"That actually tells us quite a bit about what the animals do, simply because low-frequency sounds tend to propagate across the environment with little change in volume," said Prof Lawrence Witmer.

The discovery has also helped to reveal how the animals would have killed their prey.

"Terror birds didn't have a strong bite force, but they were capable of killing prey just by striking up and down with the beak," said study lead author Federico Degrange.

Source: Live Science | Comments (12)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #3 Posted by WolvenHeart7 7 years ago
I wouldn't want to get on the bad side of this bird...-shivers-
Comment icon #4 Posted by tcgram 7 years ago
That's just freaky.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Foil Hat Ninja 7 years ago
He wouldn't look so tough with a meat thermometer stuck in his chest while you're making gravy out of his neck.
Comment icon #6 Posted by xxxdemonxxx 7 years ago
Cool. I wouldn't dare try and ride that bird without a saddle.
Comment icon #7 Posted by iSeravie15 7 years ago
Chocobo,.. hehe
Comment icon #8 Posted by Codenwarra 7 years ago
Another Demon Duck of Doom. Must have been a Gondwana type, though the Australian one is older http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bullockornis
Comment icon #9 Posted by Aardvark-DK 7 years ago
I want large fries with that, and a coke...to go please..
Comment icon #10 Posted by Bavarian Raven 7 years ago
That doesn't look so scary, more like a six foot turkey.
Comment icon #11 Posted by zeek wulfe 7 years ago
If you do not have any comments besides stale and not funny jokes, reserve this space to people with a genuine scientific bent. Some of the above entries are cringe worthy.
Comment icon #12 Posted by Shabda 7 years ago
zeek wulfe, stuff it willya? YOUR entry is cringe worthy, so shut your hole and stop crying and whining! If you do not approve of any comments, feel free to move on!


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