'Terror Bird' Used Beak as Axe

Bird bobbed and weaved like a boxer to corner prey
By Emily Rauhala,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 19, 2010 4:59 AM CDT
'Terror Bird' Used Beak Like an Axe
The skull of the Andalgalornis dwarfs the skull of a modern-day golden eagle and a human skull.   (AP Photo/Ohio University)

Scientists have discovered exactly how the giant, prehistoric "terror birds" that once roamed South America slaughtered its prey. Using CT scans and biomedical reconstructions, Argentine and American researchers found that the 5-foot-tall, 90-pound Andalgalornis steulleti wielded its enormous head like an axe, smashing its curved beak into animals and stabbing them until they succumbed, reports the LA Times.

The team says the bird probably bobbed and weaved like a boxer, attacking and retreating while "using its powerful neck like the handle of a pickax." Paleontologists believe these "nitty gritty" findings will help them understand these big, bad birds. The rest of us can just be thankful that they've been extinct for 6 million years. (Click here to read about another terror, the baby-eating T. Rex)

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