Kelenken guillermoi, from the Langhian stage of the Miocene epoch, some 15 million years ago, discovered in the Collón Curá Formation in Patagonia in 2006, represents the largest bird skull yet found. The fossil has been described as being a 71-centimetre (28 in), nearly intact skull. The beak is roughly 46 cm (18 in) long and curves in a hook shape that resembles an eagle's beak. Most species described as phorusrhacid birds were smaller, 60–90 cm (2. 0–3. 0 ft) tall, but the new fossil belongs to a bird that probably stood about 3 m (9. 8 ft) tall. Scientists theorize that the large terror birds were extremely nimble and quick runners, able to reach speeds of 48 km/h (30 mph). Examination of phorusrhacid habitats also indicates that phorusrhacids may have presented intense competition to predatory metatherian sparassodonts such as borhyaenids and thylacosmilids, causing the mammalian predators to choose forested habitats to avoid the more successful and aggressive avian predators on the open plains.
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