It’s one thing when you’re out in the woods to come across a large predator like a wolf, bear, or mountain lion, but imagine for a moment you stumble onto the path of a large predatory bird that stands almost nine feet tall, with a head bigger than a horse and to them…YOU are the one that’s on the menu!
That creature was aptly named- ‘Terror Bird’. Millions of years ago in what is now South America, the terror bird was the apex predator of it’s day and about five million years ago, these creatures crossed the Isthmus of Panama into what is now North America.
Upon arriving in North America the terror bird quickly found out, that they weren’t the only game in town, for the first time in their existence they ran into other predators who would give them a run for their money and more importantly, fierce competition for food.
Here is a couple of paragraphs from Wikipedia regarding these amazing and fierce predators:
Phorusrhacids, colloquially known as terror birds, were an extinct clade of large carnivorous flightless birds that were one of the largest species of apex predators in South America during the Cenozoic era; their conventionally accepted temporal range covers from 62 to 1.8 million years (Ma) ago.
They ranged in height from 1 to 3 m (3 to 10 ft). Their closest modern-day relatives are believed to be the 80-centimetre-tall (31 in) seriemas. Titanis walleri, one of the larger species, is known from Texas and Florida in North America. This makes the phorusrhacids the only known large South American predator to migrate north in the Great American Interchange that followed the formation of the Isthmus of Panama land bridge (the main pulse of the interchange began about 2.6 Ma ago; Titanis at 5 Ma was an early northward migrant).
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The video below is from PBS Eons on YouTube and I thought it was both fascinating and informative, so if you are into this sort of thing, you should really enjoy it.