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Re: What would Hitchcock have thought...?



Patrick Norton wrote:

It is relevant to your comment that teratorns picked up prey with "strong beaks" and your belief that they "could pick up a small child". I used _A. magnificens_ as an example, since it was the largest of the known teratorns and therefore the most likely, if possible at all, of carrying off child-sized prey. The structurally weak and highly kinetic skulls (and the resultant inability to kill or dismember large prey) I mentioned are found in all the large teratorns, including _Teratornis merriami_ and _Teratornis incredibilis_, both of which survived into the late Pleistocene. This evidence argues against teratorns preying on child-sized prey or being able to pick up prey of that size using their beak (or the feet for that matter).

I'm intrigued by your study; two quick questions:

1) How did you estimate the lifting ability? Do highly kinetic skulls in and of themselves prohibit applying significant force?

2) What sort of feeding ecology did you reconstruct for teratorns, given that you found an inability to dismember large prey or lift smaller prey?


--Mike Habib