One of my favorite Facebook pages just posted this image of a replica of Argentavis magnificens, also known as the Giant Teratorn. I'd actually never heard of it before, but it's pretty awesome. It's an extinct bird that once soared in the skies of Argentina, and is one of the largest bird species ever known with a wingspan of over 20 feet and weight well over 100 lbs.
It's pretty darn big, and seeing it with an adult man standing next to it really puts its size into perspective. It also makes it pretty obvious that if these things were still flying around today, human beings could definitely be on their menu (just like smaller species of humans once were for other large birds).
Seeing this also immediately makes me think of the thunderbird, a cryptozoological species that fits the description of Argentavis. I wonder, could this mythological creature have been inspired by this extinct giant bird that once actually did exist?
Here's more about the legend of the thunderbird.
Photo via I F-ing Love Science Facebook page.