A mix team of researchers from Australia and New Zealand started scanning and investigate the fossils of Haast’s eagle (Harpagostris Moore), the largest bird of prey that ever lived, which he used frequently to hunt even adult people.
Haast’s eagle disappeared more than 500 years, but the strength and reputation of this mysterious bird’s still fascinated ornithologists and paleontology. Researchers say that the eagle, who lived in the mountains of New Zealand and weigh up to 18 kilograms, was a ferocious predator, not a scavenger, as was claimed in the past.
To decipher the mysteries of the feared bird of prey, Ken Ashwel, researcher at the University of New South Wales and Paul Scotfield of the Canterbury Museum, used computerized axial tomography or CAT scan for skulls, fossilized pelvises and beaks in order to rebuild the brain, eyes, ears and hearts of the missing bird.
The researchers also found with surprise that the huge bird of prey has evolved very rapidly from an ancestor who was the approximate size of crows. Haast eagle rose body much faster than the brain during the evolutionary process. In fact, the body has multiplied 10 times the size in the range of 1.8 million-700 000 years, between early and middle Pleistocene.
Haast’s eagle disappeared by cause of habitat destruction and loss of its main food, Moa birds, which were in turn hunted to extinction by the early Polynesians that arrived in New Zealand. Maori folklore abounds in terrifying stories about pouakai bird or hokioi , as they named it, which descend from the sky and killed people.