New Exhibit Now Open: Terror Bird!Donna Cayer2020-09-20T13:39:12-04:00
Terror Bird Skull Castings:
Recently, our Birds of Prey exhibit welcomed their newest member, Phorusrhacos! This species of Terror Bird was native to South America but later migrated into North America during the height of the Great American Biotic Interchange 2.7 million years ago. This speciman is a towering 8ft tall and fully feathered, with large powerful legs and a hooked beak for ripping into prey.
Inside the exhibit we have a 10 minute program that plays throughout the day detailing the rise and fall of these amazing creatures, including how their unique biology helped them adapt to the new environment, hypotheses into their hunting strategies, and their inevitable extinction.
Behind the plexi, the 1:1 scale Phorusrhacos paleosculpture brings this extinct species to life with vividly colored feathers, terrain, and two mammalian sculptures weaving underfoot.
Great American Biotic Interchange
Due to continuous tectonic plate movement, the world is always changing right under our feet. Around 3 million years ago, volcanic activity caused the Isthmus of Panama to rise from the seafloor and bridge the gap between North and South America.
This land bridge made it possible for terrestrial and fresh water fauna to migrate between the territories, distributing mammals, flightless birds, reptiles, amphibians, and arthropods. Phorusrhacos used this into the new world and over time gave way to the largest species of Terror Bird, Titaniswalleri.
Ferocious Florida Resident
Height: 2.5 m (8 ft 2 in)
Weight: 150 kilograms (330 lb).
A majority of the fossil evidence was excavated from three dig sites in northern Florida, which are highlighted on the map below.
Sponsored in part by the Brevard County Board of County Commissioners, Florida’s Space Coast Office of Tourism and Brevard Cultural Alliance.