Extinct eagle was preying on humans?

Posted: September 13, 2009 in Archaeology, History
Tags: , , , , ,

The eagle known as Haast’s eagle which lived in New Zealand have recently been studied in more depth than before. Ken Ashwell of the University of New South Wales in Australia and Paul Scofield of the Canterbury Museum in New Zealand have done CAT-scans (computed axial tomography) of the bones from the bird and in this way obtained more information and have presented new theories in Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

They have compared the eagle with eagles that live today and other both predator birds and scavengers and concluded that Haast’s eagle most likely was a predator, a hunter mainly living of the moa bird. The Moa bird wasn’t a small prey with its 3 meters height. The eagle is related too much smaller birds but developed in New Zealand when the body started to grow in a fast rate but the brain remained at a slow development rate.

The scientists believe that the eagle became extinct about 500 years ago. It seems like the Haast’s eagle was still in mind with the Maori people in New Zealand. Their legends talk about some legendary pouakai or hokioi, a huge bird that could fly down on people in the mountains and was capable of killing a small child. The eagle have probably weighed 10-15 kilos with a wingspann on 3 meters. The reason for the extinction of the eagle is probably because of two things, when the human came and when the moa bird became extinct.

Read the full article here

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