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More on the Haast Eagle

Following up my recent entry on the extinct Haast Eagle, the largest predator in New Zealand, I noted this BBC News article, which discusses recent research into its DNA. It turns out that the Haast Eagle, one of the largest flying birds ever, was directly related to one of the world's smallest - a whole order of magnitude smaller...

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
sclerotic_rings
Jan. 4th, 2005 06:42 am (UTC)
Of course, what I love is that the Haast eagle was apparently, based on bone analysis, on its way to becoming flightless when it first contacted humans. One only wonders what would have happened if humans had stayed away from Aotearoa for another half-million years: those eagles were terrifying enough as is, but flightlessness would have removed one big restriction on their size. Creepy, ain't it?
mdlbear
Jan. 4th, 2005 06:55 am (UTC)
...divided by a common language
I love the way they gloss the birds' masses [e.g., 10kg (1st 8lb)], presumably just to confuse the heck out of the Americans.
(Deleted comment)
del_c
Jan. 4th, 2005 11:02 am (UTC)
The Third Age was long ago; and the film company could only just afford to send cameras through the Auckland time-gate (why do you think the film cost on the order 10^8 dollars?)

Bringing back something the mass of a capital "E" Eagle is out of the question, even if you could persuade one of them to come.
camies
Jan. 4th, 2005 08:34 am (UTC)
And it seems to have got bigger very quickly. Something similar probably happened to kawekaweau, which some people have identified as the Giant Gecko Hoplodactylus delcourti which is only known from a stuffed specimen in a museum.
del_c
Jan. 4th, 2005 11:06 am (UTC)
Size is one of the easiest things to change in evolution; animals are always trying to be bigger than their fellows anyway, so once the ecological restrictions are off.... Vooom!

(it works the other way around too, the dwarf elephants of the Mediterranean islands got small very quickly after the rising waters cut them off from their parent populations in Afro-Eurasia)
stillcarl
Jan. 5th, 2005 12:16 am (UTC)
No Moa
No Moa
In all of Aotearoa.

Can’t get ‘em
They’ve eat ‘em
No Moa in Aotearoa.


I think we need some verses for the Haast Eagle as well...
micheinnz
Jan. 5th, 2005 07:23 pm (UTC)
Heheh. Goes to show how far the research has come since I learned what I posted in my previous comment.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )