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How Do We Know This?
Paleontologists use knowledge of the earth's rocks, global plate tectonic movements, ancient ecosystems, and the chemical process of fossilization to make sense of fossil distribution patterns and ancient habitats.
- Argentavis magnificens known from central and northwestern Argentina.
- T. merriami known from about 105 specimens from Rancho La Brea,California, plus Florida, New Mexico, and Mexico
- Cathartornis gracilis known only from Rancho La Brea, California
- Ailornis incredibilis found in southern California and Nevada
- Argentavis: This bird, the largest of the teratorns may have depended on updrafts and thermals to stay aloft (Chatterjee et al 207)
- Argentavis may have evolved in South America along with the evolution of open grasslands and the rise of the Andes. (Rhys 1980) (Chatterjee et al 2007)
- Habitat may have been a large plain like southern Patagonia today (savanna with distinct dry season) (Campbell & Tonni 1981) with areas of mountain ranges or high ground for nesting and taking off. (Palmqvist & Vizcaíno 2003) (Chatterjee et al 2007)
- Home range estimated at 542 km sq (Palmqvist & Vizcaíno 2003)
- Teratornis merriami occupied habitats that were less open, with coastal shrub and woodlands in California
Campbell & Tonni (1981)
Chatterjee et al. (2007)
Palmqvist & Vizcaíno (2003)
SDZWA Library Links
Fact Sheet Index
Fact sheet index, San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance Library
Home page, San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance Library
Email the librarians at email@example.com