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Palaeontology

Giant man-eating eagle actually existed

By T.K. Randall
September 17, 2009 · Comment icon 16 comments



Image Credit: PLoS
The giant man-eating "Haast's Eagle" of New Zealand really did exist according to new research, it would have weighed up to 40lbs and is thought to have hunted flightless birds such as moa and even human children.
A massive man-eating bird of prey from ancient Maori legend really did exist, according to new research. Scientists have known about the existence of Haast's eagle for over a century based on excavated bones, but the behaviour of these giant birds was not clear.


Source: Daily Mail | Comments (16)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #7 Posted by jj Carolina 11 years ago
There is a difference between carry off and take down. A eagle flying at high speed from the sky could well easily push down a human to the ground or throw them off their balance!
Comment icon #8 Posted by psyche101 11 years ago
I did not think much about Haast's Eagle was in doubt? They had powerful talons that would break the neck of a moa as it swooped from the sky, Far as I know, it was always though they stayed on the ground to eat their prey, and more than children, grown adults have been said to be killed in a stealthy attack from behind. The documentary "Monsters We Met" has some vivid imagery and depiction's that illustrate just this behaviour.
Comment icon #9 Posted by Arbenol68 11 years ago
The giant man-eating "Haast's Eagle" of New Zealand really did exist according to new research, I never realised there was any real doubt.
Comment icon #10 Posted by jules99 11 years ago
You are correct. The worst part is that there are people out there who actually believe eagles existing today can carry off babies and kids. If you watch till the end there is some really cool footage of a goat teaching an eagle how to hang glide... I dont think eagles should be under estimated..
Comment icon #11 Posted by ealdwita 11 years ago
The eagle pictured in the first clip is a Harpy Eagle, a native of Central and South America, and the largest and most powerful member of the raptor family. The type of attack shown is perfectly feasable, the prey knocked of its feet and then disabled by the severing of the spinal column by a talon. Most raptors (especially hawks) kill in this manner. Very little actual carrying of the kill is done when the prey is large. I have seen the results of a Harpy attack on a full-grown German Shepherd Dog, and it wasn't pretty! Sadly, the dog had to be destroyed.
Comment icon #12 Posted by Mentalcase 11 years ago
We have bald eagles and hawks around here that carry off dogs, cats, racoons, etc.
Comment icon #13 Posted by lightly 11 years ago
Yikes! heeeeeeeeeerrre poofy .... here girl We used to worry about our cat/s being outside because of Owls and Hawks. There are bald Eagles too , but I don't think those would come anywhere near the house?
Comment icon #14 Posted by Insightful Waffles 11 years ago
*hides behind a rock * dont eat me ;O
Comment icon #15 Posted by Ryu 11 years ago
That footage of the golden eagle was amazing. I had no idea they had that much strenght that they can glide away with a small goat. Totally incredible.
Comment icon #16 Posted by jules99 11 years ago
That footage of the golden eagle was amazing. I had no idea they had that much strenght that they can glide away with a small goat. Totally incredible. Yeah I found it a bit brutal but truly awe inspiring. The footage came from a spanish 1970s naturalist series by Felix Rodriguez de la Fuente man and nature. From what I read its documented behaviour for these eagles to take their prey high and glide down to their nests with it. More recently eagles have been filmed taking/attacking reindeer calf, http://news.bbc.co.uk/earth/hi/earth_news/newsid_8314000/8314558.stm Cheers


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