10,000 BC and Terror Birds

Posted by: Loren Coleman on March 21st, 2008


If you haven’t seen 10,000 BC, I highly recommend you give it a second chance for your weekend viewing before it leaves the big screen.

I find it discouraging that one of the major movie criticisms being heaped on 10,000 BC is that there was not enough blood and gore, that the slicing and dicing of humans, with full-screen blood spatter, did not fill every scene. What, I must ask, is wrong with old-fashion storytelling?

10,000 BC is a movie that will grow on people as viewers take in what they have in front of them. It is an elegant, sweeping, majestic mythical movie set on a grand scale. The film literally is a prehistoric cinematic comic book, an adventure journey, slowly unfolding before you.

10,000 BC reminded me of my best experiences I had reading old Classics Illustrated and similar comics, after sometimes reading one of the books they were based upon or sometimes not. Those comics opened worlds for me [and, yes, perhaps even helped with a couple book reviews (come on, you must know they served as early “Cliff Notes”)].

Frankly, bottomline, the potential possibility of future wonder in this movie is being underestimated.


May 1957, Classics Illustrated #138 ~ A Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne (artist Norm Saunder’s first of only five painted covers for this title).


I predict 10,000 BC will grow on people. After folks let the movie’s legendary quests sweep over them, as DVD buyers watch the HD version, the merging shoots from the Nubian desert, the South African jungles, and the New Zealand mountains will be seen to work. In a few months, you will hear more about the good tale that this movie shares. And you will regret you let it leave the theaters without seeing it up there on the large screen.

Now to the animals….

As far as computer-generated mammoths, the saber-toothed tiger, and the terror birds, they are some of the most seamless adaptations I have ever viewed in a contemporary film.

For those that feel there is a problem with mammoths existing during the timeline of 10,000 BC, unfortunately those critics seem unaware of cave drawings, fossil finds, and evidence that humans and mammoths coexisted until around 2500 B.C. A small population survived on St. Paul Island, Alaska, up until 6000 B.C. and the small mammoths of Wrangel Island became extinct only around 2000 B.C. Those times are amazingly close to now.

Some critics of 10,000 BC have complained about the editing of the scenes of fighting between the terror birds and the humans, saying the birds moved too quickly. I actually thought the encounters worked. It recalled for me how I often “see” animals. First there is a blur, then I focus on what I’m viewing, and finally the animals I am trying to watch come into clearer view. My experience of the movie’s terror birds was taken in along those lines.

Mysterious Island Terror Bird

Sure, the stop-action terror birds of the old film, Mysterious Island are pretty cool. But for a truer sense of reality, indeed, 10,000 BC’s ancient birds show us more correctly that these animals are nothing more than evolved feathered dinosaurs.

Terror birds were first discovered in the late 1800s and are believed to have become South America’s top predators after the dinosaurs died off 65 million years ago.

Mysterious Island Terror Bird

When 10,000 BC was being scripted and filmed, it appears obvious, the new findings (since overturned) were just hitting the peer-reviewed scholarly journals and the mainstream media that species of terror birds from Texas had been dated to, humm, 12,000 Before Present, or, well, 10,000 B.C.

Mysterious Island Terror Bird

This model (above) of the Mysterious Island’s Terror Bird from MonstersInMotion.com still is on my wish list for the museum, but I now must wonder, will 10,000 BC have replica Terror Birds and Mammoths?

Dinosaurs do live on today and they are birds. 10,000 BC’s images of the terror birds gives viewers an indication of how these dinosaurlike birds might have ruled their day.


An artist’s rendering of the 2003 discovered new species of phorusrhacid, or terror bird, shows the massive creature’s sharp, curving beak. A high school student unearthed the ancient remains of the new species in the Patagonia region of Argentina. The fossil skull of the new specimen ~ the largest bird the world has ever seen ~ is viewed in the bottom photo alongside a modern California condor skull, is 2.3 feet (almost a meter) long and represents the largest bird skull ever found.

Skulls photograph by S. Bertelli, illustration by S. Abramowicz.


An illustration shows the size of a large terror-bird species compared to that of an average-size human. The extinct group of predatory, flightless birds dominated South America from 65 million to 2.5 million years ago.

Illustration by Gustavo Lecuona

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

4 Responses to “10,000 BC and Terror Birds”

  1. maxthecrystalskull responds:

    Shill: I go to movies for entertainment, and to be bludgeoned with creative license, not historical accuracy. I doubt that Xerxes was 14 feet tall (300) or that Tesla (regardless of his brilliance) created an elsctrostatic (albeit random) human clone machine, or for that matter, that we have a national cadre of Bourne-like super killers under tenuous government control. I agree with Loren, in that this is a beautifully rendered tale that requires zero strife or struggle on my part, and that Burroughs would find deeply engaging and satisfying. I think the critics need to spend a great deal of effort in “lightening up.” Long live Barsoom!

  2. Craig York responds:

    It didn’t stink, but I kept my expectations firmly in neutral. The geography (and geographical distribution-weren’t the Terror birds confined to the Americas?) are a little strange, but it was fun way to spend a couple of hours.

  3. Mnynames responds:

    Overall, I rather liked it, although I thought it was very awkwardly edited, and the narration didn’t work well, IMO. I felt the animals were a bit “super-sized” for the film, but then, there’s a lot we don’t know (certainly enough hedge-way for fantasists), and Ligers do get as big as the Saber-Tooth in the film. As for the Terror Birds, I rather assumed they were meant to be Elephant Birds, or more likely a close relative.

    As even Loren noted earlier, I also spotted several references to “Stargate”, enough that this could be seen by some as a prequel of sorts. Was the God-King Ra really overthrown by a northern tribe of mammoth-hunters? What was with the guy speaking like a Goa’Uld?

  4. dambert responds:

    Since when are Hollywood films historically accurate? Movies made on recorded times, like the world wars and European events are strife with errors. My father, who grew up in the second world war, can hardly watch a movie on second world war as it full of errors to glamorize an event or character. There was a movie on American bombing a Japanese Radar facility. Guess what, the Japanese did NOT have radar at that time.

    Even my favorite movie, Braveheart, is filled with gapping historical errors. Some of the he major characters in that movie, apparently were not alive at the same time, and thus could not have killed or slept with each other as portrayed in the move.

    So its amusing that critics blast a fantasy movie again, while ignoring movies portraying events which are not PRE-historic.

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