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Terror birds outside SA?[edit]

Article says that Titanis is only Terror Bird known outside South America, but I found an article describing 'terror bird' find from Antarctica: here —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mikoyan21 (talkcontribs) 01:25, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

As will be seen in the updated text, more species have been found outside South America.

PainMan (talk) 02:46, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

Explanation of changes[edit]

"Popular Cultural" section[edit]

I removed this section

Popular culture

The impressive size and fearsome habits of these birds, as well as the late survival of Titanis (which at one time was erroneously believed to have been encountered by humans), caused phorusrhacids to feature in some works of popular culture. Phorusrhacos longissimus made an appearance in one episode of the series Walking with Beasts and Prehistoric Park. The "Carakiller", a fictional bird from the "what-if" series The Future Is Wild, is a caracara which had evolved into a phorusrhacid-like animal that essentially fills the same ecological niche as Andalgalornis did 7 million years before the episode takes place.

I see two problems with this section:

a.) it's too much like a trivia section although presented in narrative format.

b.) I don't see it's relevance to the "Terror Birds". Two of the TV "series" (in actuality they were mini-series) cited, Walking with Prehistoric Beasts and Prehistoric Park are documentaries. Also, The Future is Wild is not fiction but rather a scientifically-based extrapolation on what Earth's fauna might look like in 5, 100, and 200 million years in the future. What has a hypothetical creature to do with real--but extinct--ones?


I updated the article to include the fact that species of terror birds have been found in Florida and Texas.

Dating change[edit]

Changed "millions of years ago", and similar phrases, to the scientific term Before Present or BP.

PainMan (talk) 02:46, 8 February 2008 (UTC)

Relationship to Therapods?[edit]

It seems that there could be a clear relationship to Therapod dinosaurs here, from which birds evolved. Is there any research on this? Cyberia1 (talk) 03:57, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

Last I checked, the Terror birds are assumed to be descended from maniraptorian theropod dinosaurs, just like seriemas, chickens, and finches, and do not enjoy any special dinosaurian status.--Mr Fink (talk) 05:10, 5 March 2008 (UTC)
Their shape is similar to "classic" theropod shapes, but to the best of my knowledge the similarity is due to convergent evolution, not because of direct descent from deinonychus, utahraptor, and company. They are part of the same maniraptor clade, though, of course. -- (talk) 22:23, 13 March 2008 (UTC)
They're neognath birds, so not closer to ancestral theropods than say, an ostrich. Don't look more like them than regular birds apart from their size either. FunkMonk (talk) 05:20, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

"able to swallow dog-sized prey"[edit]

Chihuahua? Spaniel? Labrador? Rottweiler? Totnesmartin (talk) 13:24, 5 July 2009 (UTC)

Cause for Extinction[edit]

Why did terror birds become extinct at the very beginning of the pleistocene i mean if you think about where titanis was discovered, it was found in the florida lakes where they were once dry land due to a drop in sea level but if mcfadden was right about terror birds becoming extinct 2 mya then why did they go extinct at that time? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Aslan10000 (talkcontribs) 20:56, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

The last of the terror birds died out at the end of the Pliocene, not the beginning of the Pleistocene: secondly, species and taxa go extinct for a variety of reasons, whether climate change, new competitors, extinction of prey, introduction of unsuitable prey, and it's not always clear why extinction occurs--Mr Fink (talk) 22:23, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

wait the pleistocene began 2.6 million years ago right —Preceding unsigned comment added by Aslan10000 (talkcontribs) 20:32, 12 August 2009 (UTC)

The wikipedia article for Pleistocene does indeed say that it starts around 2.58 million years ago. On the other hand, the abstract of the report, Revised age of the late Neogene terror bird (Titanis) in North America during the Great American Interchange [1] states that there is no evidence for Titanis surviving into the Pleistocene of North America.--Mr Fink (talk) 04:01, 13 August 2009 (UTC)

Ah man not cool i can not believe this give me one good reason to believe this cause i don't think either climate or mammalian predators wiped them out cause they were fast running animals and long before cats anddogs they did lived along side mammal predators like thylacosmilus (Correct me if i spelt that wrong) so the only explanation for the bird's extinct is man-related —Preceding unsigned comment added by Aslan10000 (talkcontribs) 22:39, 14 August 2009 (UTC)

I already showed you an abstract about how there is no evidence that Titanis lived during the Pleistocene, and fossil evidence strongly suggests that humans arrived during or just after the last Ice Age, 50,000 years ago, as well as there being absolutely no evidence of humans ever encountering, let alone hunting Titanis. I don't intend to be mean, I'm just stating facts. If you wish to proceed with your pet hypothesis, you will have to collect actual evidence to support it, i.e., fossils of Titanis dating from the late Pleistocene that shows signs of having been butchered, and not simply presenting your own disbelief. Otherwise, you're engaging in original research.--Mr Fink (talk) 02:44, 15 August 2009 (UTC)

Extinction date[edit]

Aslan10000 may be off his rocker a bit, but the Gelasian age (2.6-1.8 Mya) was moved to the Pleistocene, so that means the birds lived into the Pleistocene. The contradiction arises because that change wasn't ratified officially (i.e. worldwide) until this year, so the 2006 paper on Titanis uses the older North American terminology that included the Gelasian as part of the Pliocene. KarlM (talk) 08:15, 16 October 2009 (UTC)

In that case, then, you have a link to the papers so we can have the appropriate references?--Mr Fink (talk) 12:51, 16 October 2009 (UTC)
The citation is here[2]. It's cited in the Pleistocene article, which is linked to from here, so I don't see a need for a separate citation in this article. KarlM (talk) 10:58, 17 October 2009 (UTC)

Thank You!--user:Aslan10000talk

Perhaps if you had made the effort to bother to make an attempt at research, rather than simply justifying your claims just because or "that's not cool", we could have avoided this edit war to begin with.--Mr Fink (talk) 02:10, 17 October 2009 (UTC)

thank you KarlM, now here is a reference to something that they may be late pleistocene after all [3] and [4] —Preceding unsigned comment added by Aslan10000 (talkcontribs) 22:20, 7 November 2009 (UTC)

Except that the book refers to McFadden's 2006 paper, and doesn't mention that he then revised his statements in his other paper in 2007.--Mr Fink (talk) 00:13, 8 November 2009 (UTC)
I only fixed the terminology. Don't use that as an excuse to include discredited material. The Megafauna book only has a half-hearted endorsement/hypothetical discussion of Baskin's 1995 paper, which is refuted by McFadden's (which has Baskin as a co-author, BTW), and both are already cited in the first paragraph. Give it a rest. KarlM (talk) 02:30, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

Ok so maybe what i've learned is not exactly accurate! --user:Aslan10000

actually it says here that there is unproven evidence that terror birds did live until 10,000 years ago --User:Zippue

So how is "unproven evidence" a reason or excuse to include discredited material?--Mr Fink (talk) 21:16, 21 November 2009 (UTC)

I don't really know I'm just trying to help! --user:zippue —Preceding undated comment added 05:54, 22 November 2009 (UTC).

In fact I've found some evidence from Pleistocene terror birds, but it's not from Titanis, but from findings fro Uruguay. One of the fossil cited by Blanco and Jones (2005) is about 450.000 years ago [5]and another more recently, of Alvarenga et al (2010) is about only 17,000 years ago [6]. Then I don't see problem in extent the temporal range of the family. --Rextron (talk) 19:01, 29 August 2012 (UTC)

Explanation of Removed Statement[edit]

I removed this statement

"...Thus discrediting any theory that humans were the cause of their demise, and giving credence to the theory that they were simply outcompeted by the superior North American Mammalian predators when the Americas collided."

in that, 1) I don't recall hearing any theory or hypothesis claiming that Titanis was specifically killed by humans, 2) "superior North American Mammalian predators" sounds too unencyclopedic and biased, 3) there's also the possibility of climate change, and 4) The Americas didn't collide: the Panamanian Isthmus emerged between them.--Mr Fink (talk) 17:44, 30 October 2009 (UTC)

I agree. I doubt that there ever was a widely-held hypothesis in which these birds were wiped out by humans - humans have only been around for a couple of million years at most, after all - and "superior"? Definitely not scientific, attaching perceived value to a whole group of animals just for being mammals. —Preceding unsigned comment added by RadicalTwo (talkcontribs) 19:54, 30 October 2009 (UTC)
Modern humans have only been around for the past 200,000 years, even.--Mr Fink (talk) 19:58, 30 October 2009 (UTC) well at least look at this. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Aslan10000 (talkcontribs) 04:34, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

And where in the article does it say that humans were what drove the terrorbirds into extinction?--Mr Fink (talk) 04:49, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
Why are you (Aslan10000) keeping on with this nonsense? "Late Pleistocene" = 1.8 million years ago, in South America. Humans got there, at the earliest, 30,000 years ago, more likely 10,000. KarlM (talk) 09:15, 23 February 2011 (UTC)

I just found this on google so I'd thought I'd just share is. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:08, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

The thing is, we get the impression that you always want to find any reason to justify the inclusion of the evidence-less claim that phorusrhacids were hunted into extinction by humans.--Mr Fink (talk) 01:19, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

Not really, I just wanted to look for evidence that they lived in the pleistocene in general. i've already gone over humanity the destroyer phase. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:49, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

"Terror Bird"[edit]

I think the term "Terror Bird" should be made a seperate disambig page. This article doesn't even mention Gastornis, which also goes by that name. (talk) 12:23, 11 September 2010 (UTC)

Maybe, are there any citations that refer to gastornithids as terror birds? I've never read that. MMartyniuk (talk) 22:53, 11 September 2010 (UTC)
I think they are Terra-birds traditionally, and terror bird is a modern variant, but that violates WP:NOR. (talk) 02:43, 19 January 2011 (UTC)
I've never heard "terra bird"--what does that even mean, "earth bird"? Why? MMartyniuk (talk) 00:52, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
Unless I'm mistaken, I think that's popularizing British pronunciation. (Oh, and gastornithiformes are completely seperate from the phorusrhacids, the latter being the "traditional" terror birds, just to clear up Matt's September comment. Due to WWB's popularity it's now smattered on everything from Gastornis to secretary birds) Crimsonraptor(Contact me) Dumpster dive if you must 01:17, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
So it's like asserting on the page for Governor that the correct, original term is "guv'nah"? ;) MMartyniuk (talk) 04:51, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
This proves that they don't speak English in Britain.--Mr Fink (talk) 05:01, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
It also proves that languages are now as complicated as the classification system is :D
But trying to stay on topic this time (unsuccessfully, perhaps), we might need a disambig just to provide links to both Phorusrhacidae and Gastornithiformes, given that the majority of the world uses the term for "big killer prehistoric birds." Crimsonraptor(Contact me) Dumpster dive if you must 15:34, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
But do they really? I've also only seen it used in relation to phorusrhacids. FunkMonk (talk) 17:09, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
Sadly, I have. Too many books I've seen have Gastornis as a "terror bird," and to be honest I've seen some adults get them confused. Crimsonraptor(Contact me) Dumpster dive if you must 17:31, 24 February 2011 (UTC)
Hmmm, should we really be vindicating such inaccuracies here? I'ts not as if "dinosaur" is a disambiguation page that also refers to plesiosaurs, pterosaurs and so on either, just because many people think they're dinosaurs. Probably millions more than the amount of people who have ever heard of the word "terror bird", heh. FunkMonk (talk) 17:38, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

Grasping Feet?[edit]

Some reconstructions of Terror Birds show a grasping foot i.e. Titanis. Is this diagnostic of Terror Birds or not? A large flightless bird with a grasping foot suggests that it subdued its prey with its feet like modern birds of prey. In addition they have strongly hooked beaks for tearing off large chunks to swallow, also like modern birds of prey. A strongly hooked beak and strong grasping feet are both unlike Seriemas and rather suggests their ancestors were morphologically conventional birds of prey. Another point of comparison is the skull of the Philippine Eagle and the terrestrial legs of the Secretary Bird or Savanna Hawk. — Preceding unsigned comment added by TSpencerGrow (talkcontribs) 01:59, 18 July 2011 (UTC)

Carnivorous bird?[edit]

terror birds, were a clade of large carnivorous flightless birds

According to an article dated 8/29/2013 on Science Daily (, new research from the University of Bonn focusing on the ratio of calcium isotopes in Phorusrhacidae fossils indicates that the ratio is similar to those of herbivore mammals and dinosaurs instead of to the carnivorous kinds. --Mirrordor 05:16, 2 September 2013 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Mirrordor (talkcontribs)

The article is actually talking about Gastornis and not the Phorushracids.--Mr Fink (talk) 05:36, 2 September 2013 (UTC)


May we revisit this section? The whole land bridge / carnivore mammal thing - - depends on the Isthmus of Panama emerging around 2.5Myr ago. - if it's correct - pushes that date back another 10Myr and makes the whole Extinction section here, together with other articles, pretty bogus. At the least it would have to be rewritten as continental proximity rather than land-bridging.

Could we also revisit the fossil date record for the most recent recorded date for these birds? I know there's a fringe pressure to put them into the far more recent Quaternary extinction event, but some properly academic dating of the more recently-deposited fossils must surely be available. JohnHarris (talk) 11:43, 10 August 2015 (UTC)