Odds and quads

This sculpture of a "terror bird", with painted polystyrene eye, can be found in the Alfred Denny Museum at the University of Sheffield.

September 20, 2012

Like ostriches on steroids with the ferocity of eagles, 18 species of "terror birds" - technically known as phorusrhacids - roamed South America between 60 million and 2 million years ago. As predators at the apex of the food chain, they are believed to have used their enormous hooked beaks to disable and dispatch their prey. They stood between 1m and 3m tall, with the largest known skull left by one species measuring 72cm in length.

The Alfred Denny zoological museum offers a vivid picture of the diversity of life on Earth, how animals' bodies work and why they behave the way they do. Creatures on display include everything from tiny fossilised flying dinosaurs to a dolphin that once turned up in a Sheffield fish market.

Although actively used for teaching, the museum is rarely open to the public, but some of the collection will be on display as part of the Sheffield Festival of the Mind (20-30 September). It will also include tours and a lecture by the museum's curator, the zoologist Tim Birkhead.

Send suggestions for this series on the treasures, oddities and curiosities owned by universities across the world to matthew.reisz @tsleducation.com

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

Monster behind man at desk

Despite all that’s been done to improve doctoral study, horror stories keep coming. Here three students relate PhD nightmares while two academics advise on how to ensure a successful supervision

Sir Christopher Snowden, former Universities UK president, attacks ratings in wake of Southampton’s bronze award

opinion illustration

Eliminating cheating services, even if it were possible, would do nothing to address students’ and universities’ lack of interest in learning, says Stuart Macdonald

Female professor

New data show proportion of professors who are women has declined at some institutions

celebrate, cheer, tef results

Emilie Murphy calls on those who challenged the teaching excellence framework methodology in the past to stop sharing their university ratings with pride