STL Science Center

STL Science Center

27 November 2015

Holiday Birds

(C) Amanda (Flickr user spakattacks)
In the United States the time between November and December is a very bird-oriented time frame. There are turkeys and geese as well as official bird counts spread throughout the calendar. To celebrate this avian rich space on the calendar we ought to celebrate the fossil record of birds as well. To begin that celebration of birds we first turn toward one of the largest birds known to have existed. Coming, unexpectedly, from the group of predominately South American birds known as Phorusrhacids, the North American bird Titanis walleri Brodkorb 1963 was a wonderfully large and agile bird and one of few members of the family known to inhabit North America. Living from the Pliocene into the Pleistocene, Titanis was approximately 2.5 m (8.2 ft) tall and was estimated to weigh approximately 150 kg (330 lbs). The musculature of the animal must have been significantly well developed and toned as the bird's top speed was estimated to top out around 65 km/h (40.3 m/h); a respectable speed for a bipedal animal of any kind. It was, in addition to its size, solidly built, making the case for significant musculature even more well developed.

No comments:

Post a Comment