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Re: Phorusrhacids killing large mammals in National Geographic Channel
I'm not too well versed in biomechanics, but any chance that the beak
could have been adapted (or at least used) for slipping in between
vertebrae and snapping the spine along the neck or back? I know tigers
and lions can use their canines for this purpose to bring down large
prey, but they of course still have the advantage of being able to
grapple for a more precise bite, so the comparison is probably weak at
Could prey have been knocked off-balance with the feet (or even the
head) and then held down or otherwise finished with the beak? Or
perhaps the upper beak's hook was used to drag prey off its feet and
then kicked/held down for a bite/bitten.
I guess the lack of (IIRC) any marsupial carnivores bigger than
leopard-sized on a continent with plenty of big game strikes me as
reason to suspect at least *some* phorusrhacids were real threats to
larger herbivores, as well as dominant at kill sites.