'Terror bird' remains found in Argentina

October 26, 2006

A fossil found in Argentina of a large carnivorous bird capable of eating dog-sized mammals challenges traditional thoughts on how birds evolved.

The fossil of a 10-foot tall phorusrhacid, or "terror bird," was discovered in 15 million-year-old rocks in Argentina's southern Patagonia region near Comallo, Argentina, the (London) Telegraph said Tuesday. Bones recovered included a limb bone and 28-inch, nearly intact skull with an eagle-like bill.

The flightless phorusrhacid could capture and eat dog-sized creatures roaming South America millions of years ago, the Telegraph said.

The discovery suggests that these birds, thought to weigh up to 1,000 pounds, may have been more agile and less heavy than thought, and capable of running up to 30 mph. The currently accepted view is that as they evolved the birds became slower and less agile because they grew fatter.

Experts said they believe that the extinct birds were carnivores because their beaks resemble those of eagles and vultures.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Ancient 'terror bird' used powerful beak to jab like an agile boxer (w/ Video)

Related Stories

Recommended for you

X-rays reveal fossil secrets

September 3, 2015

A sophisticated imaging technique has allowed scientists to virtually peer inside a 10-million-year-old sea urchin, uncovering a treasure trove of hidden fossils.

Early human diet explains our eating habits

August 31, 2015

Much attention is being given to what people ate in the distant past as a guide to what we should eat today. Advocates of the claimed palaeodiet recommend that we should avoid carbohydrates and load our plates with red meat ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.