Bathornis

An illustration of an extinct flightless bird related to modern cariamas. It has a large hooked beak, small wings, and very long legs.

Bathornis grallator, a flightless bird about 75cm tall (2′6″) from the Late Eocene and Early Oligocene of Midwestern USA (~37-34 mya).

It was originally mistaken for a long-legged vulture (under the name Neocathartes) when first discovered in the 1940s, but later studies have shown it was actually one of the smaller members of the bathornithids – close cousins of the more well-known South American “terror birds”, successfully occupying terrestrial predator niches alongside large carnivorous mammals.

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