Ancient terrible bird fought like Muhammad Ali


20/08/2010

The giant bird of prey, known as "awful bird", the assurances of scientists who fought like Muhammad Ali.

Instead of rushing into battle like Joe Frazier, this bird launched strikes surgical precision, as did Muhammad Ali.

This bird was a giant predator, whose growth reached 3 meters. She had a massive formidable beak. Known as fororakos (Latin Phorusrhacidae), it has evolved into 18 species about 60 million years ago in South America. At the same time, down to the last few million years of its existence, she lived in Australia.

Horrible bird ate already extinct species of mammals, getting them to compete with the large cats, the type of saber-toothed tiger and marsupials. Wherever she appeared, this bird has consistently become one of the most fearsome predators in the area. At least one species of birds terrible called Titanis, finally won North America 2.3 million years ago. But soon after that, the animal died.

Competition from new mammalian predators, who came as a consequence of the appearance of the transition between North and South America, could be one of the causes of its extinction. But the number of terrible birds "were few and declining even before the arrival of new mammals on the continent," - said the researcher Federico Degrendzh, a paleontologist at the Museo de La Plata / CONICET inArgentina. The emergence of new species could be the last straw, "but it certainly was not the reason for which they were slowly dying off," - he added.

Because these extinct giants did not survive close relatives of birds that exist today, we can only speculate about how they lived and evolved. An international team of researchers conducted a study of the most advanced to date, using X-rays and modern technology in order to find out how horrible bird killed its prey.

"We need to find out what role this striking bird play in the ecosystem. This will understand how unusual ecosystem has evolved in South America over the past 60 million years," - said Degrendzh.

In the study, we found out that the style of hunting this bird was different from the style boksirovaniya Joe Frazier, who had a strong impact. Although the skull of the bird was strong enough vertical load, it was different brittleness side effects, so hollow beak was in danger of a crack in the case, if the bird is too much grabbing large prey.

Her style of hunting, more reminiscent of elegant style of fighting Muhammad Ali. Her strategy was repeated attacks and retreats. Are accurate jab fell a victim like an ax. The murdered victim was torn into small pieces with a muscular neck, pulling her head back.

"Our team is just beginning to explore the terrible birds" - said Witmer. We are also exploring the interior of the skull, to get more information about the brain and sensory systems. We found that the structure of her brain shows belonging to predators. Although opinions were expressed about the possible accessories to this bird scavengers, like vultures, but we found out that the terrible bird differed intelligence and agility.

The scientists published their research Aug. 18 in the journal PLoS ONE.

Original: LiveScience


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