A team of researchers discovered an almost complete skeleton of an unknown species of these terror birds, and were surprised to discover interesting facts about the anatomy and their auditory system of these prehistoric birds.
The prehistoric carnivorous bird fossils were discovered in 2010 buried on a beach in Mar del Plata, a town on the eastern part of Argentina.
The researchers were very pleased to find that the fossils were the most complete skeleton of a species of terror bird ever discovered.
The fossils consisted of more than 90% o the bird’s bones, according to Federico Degrange, one of the researchers involved in the discovery.
The new species of terror bird was named Llallawavis scagliai. The scientists explained that “Llallawa” means “magnificent in Quechua, which is a native language in the central part of the Andes.
Also, the name of the bird pays homage to Galileo Juan Scaglia, who was a famous naturalist from Argentina.
The almost-complete skeleton of the prehistoric terror bird is displayed at the Museo Municipal de Ciencias Naturales Lorenzo Scaglia in Mar del Plata, Argentina.
This new specimen is the first to have a complete trachea and a complete palate. It also includes the ears’ bones, the skull, the eye sockets and the brain box, which will help scientists figure out the bird’s sensory abilities.
According to an analysis of the bird’s inner ear structure, the researchers concluded that the terror bird was able to hear low-frequency sounds. The scientists say this is a special ability of predator birds because this way they can hear their prey’s footsteps when they walk on the ground.
Also, the study suggests that this species of terror bird used low-frequency sounds to communicate with other birds.
Lawrence Witmer, professor of anatomy at Ohio University, said that:
“That actually tells us quite a bit about what the animals do, simply because low-frequency sounds tend to propagate across the environment with little change in volume.”
Witmer added that other prehistoric animals who had the capacity of hearing low-frequency sounds was the infamous Tyrannosaurus rex. Modern animals with the same capacity are crocodiles, rhinos and elephants, said Witmer.
The scientists detailed their recent findings in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.
Image Source: livescience