Analysis of a terror bird's predatory behavior reveals this animal knew how to fight.
At least one of these now-extinct, large birds, Andalgalornis, fought like boxer Muhammad Ali.
Like Ali, they believe the bird was an agile and fast fighter that employed an "attack-and-retreat" strategy.
At 90 pounds, the ancient terror bird Andalgalornis may not have been comparable to a human heavyweight. However, its beak jabs and fleet-footedness were reminiscent of boxer Muhammad Ali's fighting strategy, according to new research.
The study, published in the latest PLoS ONE journal, presents the first detailed look at the predatory style of terror birds, now-extinct flightless birds known for their unusually large, fearsome heads and imposing sizes. At 4.5 feet tall, Andalgalornis was just a "mid-sized" terror bird..
CT scans revealed this bird's skull was strong and rigid in the vertical and fore-aft directions, but was relatively weak from side to side.
"That side-to-side weakness meant that the bird couldn't grapple with struggling prey like a Joe Frazier kind of slugger without risking fracturing the beak. But the great vertical strength of the beak, coupled with the animal's evident agility and speed, suggest that it fought more like Muhammad Ali," co-author Lawrence Witmer told Discovery News.