STL Science Center

STL Science Center

18 May 2016

On Being Pecked to Death

Andalgalornis we have seen is a voracious predator but had a rather unorthodox style of procuring its food, in terms of giant carnivorous birds. Possessing an akinetic skull with a large dense beak, Andalgalornis was more likely to bring that beak down on prey like a heavy rock than it was to delicately grasp and kill prey. Each method of hunting has its benefits of course, but the blunt object method of smashing one's prey makes ambush slightly more useful and practical to an animal than chasing down food and attempting to crush it with one's head. This was certainly effective either way, as the giant head of Andalgalornis effectively sustained the genus for a number of years without significant alteration. Why an increasingly kinetic group of animals developed into forms without cranial kinesis is an intriguing question though.
(C)Renata Cunha

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