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Offhand I'd flail and guess the relatively less gracile proportions
could be explained as "ambush predation", as opposed to open-plains pursuit
predation where the prey is a lot more likely to a) be able to see you
coming, which requires you to then start running after them, and b) the
prey can't easily lose you by running through the brush, so being able to
chase down prey over long distances is actually an advantage instead of
However, this wouldn't explain the more robust, deep beak- if it's
just taking the same prey in the same way, but chasing them differently.
Since you only explicitly named the heavy-bodied stuff (glyptodonts and
sloths), I suspect that you suspect the critter was frequently tackling the
slower, more heavily armored and armed animals that would take a lot more
working over to kill than (and be far more dangerous to kill than), say, a
cute little slender-necked llama, a doe-eyed vicuna, or Fluffy the
chinchilla or whatever the open-plains forms ate.
A sloth-specializing phorusrhacoid? That would be pretty cool.
- From: Christoph Kulmann <email@example.com>