Ducks Grow Longer Penises to Compete With Other Males, the Maori hunted all of the moa species to extinction, When Species Collide: Grizzly-Polar Bear Hybrids, This Tiny, Adorable Killing Machine Is The World’s Deadliest Cat. Haast's eagle became extinctar… Hundreds of years ago, a massive predatory bird soared through the skies and struck terror into the hearts of the first humans to arrive in New Zealand, the Maori. This fear is reflected in the Maori legend of Poukai, an enormous man-eating bird. The average adult human is less than half the size of an adult moa, and a human child would probably have been aÂ mere snack. Moa were flightless birds, not unlike ostriches and emus, that which weighed over 440 pounds. The researchers say they have determined that the eagle — which lived in the mountains of New Zealand and weighed about 40 pounds (18 kilograms) — was a predator and not a mere scavenger as many thought. No evidence has been found that Haast’s Eagle preyed on humans, but researchers believe it was big and strong enough to do so. Known to scientists as Haast’s eagle (Harpagornis moorei), the terrifying â and very real â bird went extinct in the 1400s. That legend is thought to have been inspired by Haast’s eagle, a giant raptor that survived until only about 500 years ago. The Haast’s eagle thrived for centuries in the wild as an apex predator within its ecosystem on South Island. It would have to be an endlessly defenseless one for an eagle to even get close. The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa Haast’s eagle specimens at a museum in Auckland, New Zealand. Scofield said the findings are similar to what he found in Maori folk tales. However, without any confirmed records of Haast’s eagle attacks prior to its extinction, we’ll never know for sure. While Haast’s eagles may seem overqualified for a predator on an island with no native terrestrial mammals other than tiny bats, they actually shared habitat with equally enormous (but non-predatory) birds called moa. BANGKOK -- Sophisticated computer scans of fossils have helped solve a mystery over the nature of a giant, ancient raptor known as the Haast's eagle which became extinct about 500 years ago, researchers said Friday. They compared their data on the Haast's eagle to characteristics of modern predator birds and scavenger birds to determine that the bird was a fearsome predator that ate the flightless moa birds and even humans. The researchers also determined the eagle quickly evolved from a much smaller ancestor, with the body growing much more quickly than the brain. In Māori mythology, the Pouakai or Poukai is a monstrous bird.In some of these legends pouakai kill and eat humans. With weapons and tools, the Maori hunted all of the moa species to extinction, leaving the Haast’s eagles without theirÂ primary food sources. Unfortunately, despite instilling fear in the Maori settlers, the Haast’s eagle would eventually give way to New Zealand’s new apex predators: humans. Even though moa were fifteen times the size of a Haast’s eagle, they were theÂ eagle’s primary food source and allowed the eagles to grow to their incredible size. "So by using nondestructive techniques, you can get a much better idea of the neurobiology of these animals.". While man-eating eagles no longer exist, modern eagles are still formidable predators capable of snatching large prey. ", Jamie R. Wood, a researcher from New Zealand who has done extensive research on the moa, said the analysis strengthens the case that the eagle evolved quickly from a much smaller ancestor, "in what must be one of the most dramatic examples anywhere of how rapidly evolution can occur on islands. Ken Ashwell of the University of New South Wales in Australia and Paul Scofield of the Canterbury Museum in New Zealand wrote their conclusions in the peer-reviewed Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. Unfortunately, despite instilling fear in the Maori settlers, the Haast’s eagle would eventually give way to New Zealand’s new apex predators: humans. No eagles eat humans. Its massive size is explained as an evolutionary response to the size of its prey, the flightless moa, the largest of which could weigh 230 kg (510 lb). It certainly was capable of taking a person down. Legends of the Maori people of New Zealand describe a man-eating monster bird called Te Hokioi. "This work is a great example of how rapidly evolving medical techniques and equipment can be used to solve ancient medical mysteries," Ashwell said. ", 24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events. Because of the Haast’s eagle’s size and strength, it may have attacked humans, inspiring the Maori legends. The species was the largest eagle known to have existed, with an estimated weight of 15 kilograms (33 lb) nearly double that of the Harpy eagle at 9 kilograms (20 lb). The Haast Eagles simply starved to death due to a lack of moa.. Watch: From the wildest corners of the planet, to extraordinary encounters in our own backyard, we provide a platform and community to celebrate the wildlife enthusiast in us all. "The fossils are very valuable and you can't just cut into the skull to look at the brain," he said. The Haast's eagle (Hieraaetus moorei) is an extinct species of eagle that once lived in the South Island of New Zealand, commonly accepted to be the pouakai of Maori legend. Turn on desktop notifications for breaking stories about interest? "They provide a convincing case that the body of this eagle has rapidly enlarged, presumably adapting to the very much larger prey it had access to in New Zealand, but that the brain size had lagged behind this increase," he said in an e-mail interview. It is a nice use of modern technology and the same old bones as yesteryear to advance knowledge. Eagles eat fish and other smaller animals and creatures. "The science supports Maori mythology of the legendary pouakai or hokioi, a huge bird that could swoop down on people in the mountains and was capable of killing a small child," he said. Scientists believe the Haast's eagle became extinct about 500 years ago, most likely due to habitat destruction and the extinction of its prey species at the hands of early Polynesian settlers. FemalesÂ were the biggest and weighed over 31 pounds, grew to almost 5 feet in length, and stood nearly 3 feet tall. Skull of a Haast’s Eagle specimen. Due to its faraway location, New Zealand was an isolated haven of unique flora and fauna that flourished free from human contact. Because fossils are so fragile and most of the species were never seen by humans, CAT scans allow researchers to closely examine body parts of the long-extinct animals to learn about their behavior, Scofield said. Ken Ashwell of the University of New South Wales in Australia and Paul Scofield of the Canterbury Museum in New Zealand wrote their conclusions in the peer-reviewed Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. They believe its body grew 10 times bigger during the early to middle Pleistocene period, 700,000 to 1.8 million years ago. When Haast’s eagles ruled New Zealand, they were the country’s apex terrestrial predator and the largest raptorial birds in the world. As a result, approximately 100 years after humans arrived in New Zealand, both the moa and the Haast’s eagle disappeared forever. New Zealand paleontologist Trevor Worthy said the study did a good job of proving the eagle was a killer. "Convincing data shows beyond doubt that this bird was an active predator, no mere scavenger. Haast’s eagles were huge, weighing 40 lbs with a … The myth may refer to the real Haast's eagle: a bird of massive size and strength which had the capability to possibly kill humans. In fact, they were 40 percent larger than the largest living eagles, and their beaks and talons were nearly twice the size of any modern eagle. Before the humans colonized New Zealand about 750 years ago, the largest inhabitants were birds like the Haast's eagle and the moa. Using computed axial tomography, or CAT, the researchers scanned several skulls, a pelvis and a beak in an effort to reconstruct the size of the bird's brain, eyes, ears and spinal cord. With weapons and tools, the Maori hunted all of the moa species to extinction, leaving the Haast’s eagles without their primary food sources. As a result, approximately 100 years after humans arrived in New Zealand, both the moa and the Haast’s eagle … These giant raptorsÂ had a wingspan of 9.8 ft, which was quite small for their overall size, but their muscular bodies and legs more than made up for it. Much larger than modern eagles, Haast's eagle would have swooped to prey on flightless birds — and possibly even the rare unlucky human. Much larger than modern eagles, Haast's eagle would have swooped to prey on flightless birds — and possibly even the rare unlucky human. Appeals court rejects Trump challenge of Pennsylvania race, Biden's win hides a dire warning for Democrats in rural US, Venezuela judge convicts 6 American oil execs, orders prison, Trump administration moves ahead on gutting bird protections.
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