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For millions of years giant predatory birds ruled South America. Since South America had broken away from Africa and then Antarctica and Australia, it had practically been isolated for over 30 million years. Animals in South America were thus unique as they had millions of years of isolated evolution. Then South America became connected to North America through the Isthmus of Panama some 2,5 million years ago and the highly successful placental mammals from the north started migrating to the south, replacing many of their marsupial counterparts in the south and the end of the 'terror birds' reign was written on the wall... it was the sabre-toothed cats that took over the top position on the food chain.