Nowadays, some of the biggest birds we know are emas, albatrosses and ostriches, but they are even small compared to some birds that roamed the planet earth in the distant past.
Giant birds measuring by two to three meters tall, had huge wingspans, seven feet in length and could make you chopper if they lived in our present world. Below are some representatives of these flying giant birds that we will probably never seen again, according to Mental Floss:
There were four or five species of the bird genus Gastornis, which lived in North America, Europe and Asia from 55 to 40 million years ago. The American bird was formerly known as Diatryma before being reclassified. The Gastornis were large birds that did not fly, the largest species being the Gastornis giganteus , which was almost two meters high.
But he offered no risk to other animals, as he was a vegetarian. Its powerful beak was used to crush seeds and fruits. However, he could very well use it also as a defense against predator attacks.
2 – Pelagornis chilensis
Until recently, it was thought that Pelagornis chilensis had the largest wingspan possible for a bird, being about 5.1 meters. This bird lived in Chile from 5 to 10 million years ago.
This great span was necessary to support his body of about thirty pounds in flight. The bird is classified as a pelagornithid or bony-toothed. Some other species of pelagornithids may have survived long enough to have been seen by humans.
3 – Pelagornis sandersi
The idea that 5.1 meters was the upper boundary limit for flying birds was broken in 2014 when it was discovered that Pelagornis sandersi was the largest flying bird ever to exist, with a wingspan of up to seven meters in length! The bird’s fossil was found in Charleston, South Carolina in 1983, but was kept in storage for thirty long years until it was studied in detail.
The Andalgalornis steulleti was a bird of the family Phorusrhacidae, that was about 1.35 in height and weighed, on average, 40 kilos. The 18 species of the family P horusrhacidae are commonly called “birds of terror” because they were great carnivorous predators during the Cenozoic era.
The Andalgalornis lived in Argentina about six million years ago and had a hard bony skull that gave it more resistance in its powerful bite compared to other birds.
5 – Kelenken
The biggest “bird of terror” was Kelenken guillermoi , who lived 15 million years ago, also in Argentina. The Kelenken birds were two to three meters high. This bird that does not fly weighed about 225 kilograms and killed its prey with its huge beak (which measures about 45 centimeters).