Sunday, September 13, 2009

Extinct eagle may have preyed on humans

Ancient New Zealand folk tales tell of a “huge bird that could swoop down on people in the mountains and was capable of killing a small child.” The island was once home to the Haast’s eagle, which was big (weighing in at 40 pounds), but eagles are just scavengers, right? Well, new research by New Zealand and Australian scientists shows “the bird was a fearsome predator that ate the flightless moa birds and even humans.” (AP)

The research was done using CAT scans on Haast’s eagle bones to “reconstruct the size of the bird’s brain, eyes, ears and spinal cord.” How does that tell you if the creature ate people? It’s a stretch, but you compare it to modern birds and figure out where there’s a closer match. To scavengers or predators? According to this research, predators.

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.