Wild Things: Life as We Know It- page 2 | Science | Smithsonian
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(Kenneth H. Thomas / Photo Researchers, Inc.)

Wild Things: Life as We Know It

Caterpillars, Frogs, Big Birds and More...

Beak Performance

Andalgalornis
(Witmer Lab)
Imagine a creature the size of Big Bird, but with a sharp beak and a less sunny disposition. Such “terror birds” stood up to seven feet tall and roamed South America for more than 50 million years, until they became extinct a few million years ago. Studying the 15-inch-long skull of the mid-size Andalgalornis, scientists from Argentina’s National University of La Plata and elsewhere say the fowl wielded its hooked beak like a pickax, hacking away at its prey.

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