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Andalgalornis (Wikimedia Commons)


Andalgalornis (Greek for "Andalgala bird"); pronounced AND-al-gah-LORE-niss


Woodlands of South America

Historical Epoch:

Miocene (23-5 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

About 4-5 feet tall and 100 pounds



Distinguishing Characteristics:

Long legs; massive head with sharp beak


About Andalgalornis:

As "terror birds"--the oversized, flightless apex predators of Miocene and Pliocene South America--go, Andalgalornis isn't quite as well known as Phorusrhacos or Kelenken. However, you can expect to hear more about this once-obscure predator, because a recent study about the hunting habits of terror birds employed Andalgalornis as its poster genus. It seems that Andalgalornis wielded its large, heavy, pointed beak like a hatchet, repeatedly closing in on prey, inflicting deep wounds with quick stabbing motions, then withdrawing to a safe distance as its unfortunate victim bled to death. What Andalgalornis (and other terror birds) specifically did not do was grasp prey in its jaws and shake it back and forth, which would have placed undue strain on its skeletal structure.

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