Phorusrhacos (pronounced "FOR-rus-RAH-kos") stood around 2.5 meters (8 ft) tall and weighed approximately 130 kilograms (280 lbs). It was nicknamed the "Terror Bird" for obvious reasons: it was one of the largest carnivorous birds to have ever existed, along with Titanis, Kelenken and Brontornis. Its rudimentary wings formed arm-like structures with claws shaped like a meat hook for tackling prey, which was then killed with the massive beak. It ate small mammals and carrion. It is speculated in the Discovery Channel series "Monsters Resurrected" that the bird killed in two ways. First by grasping its prey with its beak and smashed it to the ground repeatedly like its modern relatives, the seriemas. Secondly, and more dramatically, by striking downward with the sharp downward spike at the front of its upper beak. If in the right position, the series speculated, the spike could penetrate the braincase and kill instantly. It had an enormous skull up to sixty centimeters long, armed with a powerful, hook-tipped beak. The structure of the beak and the large claws on the toes show that this was a bird of prey. It raced over the grassy plateaus and hills of Patagonia, catching small reptiles and mammals leaving larger prey to its far more massive relatives such as Brontornis. This specimen was found in Patagonia, South America and is Miocene in age.
14" long 6" high 4" wide
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