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The Vultur Gryphus, or Andean Condor, is the national symbol of Chile. This enormous mountain bird, largest in the western hemisphere, plays a cultural role similar to that of the Bald Eagle in North America. Its bones are believed to possess magical and medicinal powers.

The monster Gryphus (Latin for griffin) is a mythological creature with the body of lion, and the head and talons of an eagle. In medieval lore, nobility drank from gryphus talon “cups,” and for good reason: a gryphus claw would change the color of poisoned wine–a handy tool for a king!

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