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Temporal range: Eocene
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Cariamiformes
Superfamily: Phorusrhacoidea
Genus: Lavocatavis
Mourer-Chauviré et al., 2011
Species: L. africana
Binomial name
Lavocatavis africana
Mourer-Chauviré et al., 2011

Lavocatavis is an extinct genus of phorusrhacoid or "terror bird" from the Eocene of Algeria. A fossilized femur was described from the Glib Zegdou Formation in 2011 and is the only known specimen of Lavocatavis. The species was designated L. africana.[1] The generic epithet is in honor of French paleontologist René Lavocat (plus Latin avis 'bird') and the specific epithet is Latin for "African".


The oldest phorusrhacoids are from South America and Antarctica, suggesting that the ancestors of Lavocatavis migrated into Africa from the west. During the Eocene, the Atlantic Ocean separated South America from Africa by at least 1,000 kilometres (620 mi), ruling out a land migration. For a flightless terrestrial bird like Lavocatavis, the only means of entering Africa would be through rafting on floating islands or island hopping. Currents traveled westward in the South Atlantic during the early Paleocene, making it unlikely that phorusrhacoids traveled on floating islands. The ancestors of Lavocatavis most likely traveled between very large islands that existed on what are now the submerged Rio Grande Rise and Walvis Ridge. However, it is also possible that the ancestors of Lavocatavis retained some of their flight ability and were able to travel between islands with more ease than flightless birds. If this was the case, Lavocatavis became flightless independently in a case of evolutionary convergence with other flightless phorusrhacoids.[1]


  1. ^ a b Cécile Mourer-Chauviré; Rodolphe Tabuce; M’hammed Mahboubi; Mohammed Adaci; Mustapha Bensalah (2011). "A phororhacoid bird from the Eocene of Africa". Naturwissenschaften. 98 (10): 815–823. PMID 21874523. doi:10.1007/s00114-011-0829-5.