Thursday, September 17, 2009

Maori legend of man-eating bird is true

An artist's impression of a Haast's eagle (L) attacking moa. Image / John Megahan in the PLoS Biology
A Maori legend about a giant, man-eating bird has been confirmed by scientists.

Te Hokioi was a huge black-and-white predator with a red crest and yellow-green tinged wingtips, in an account given to Sir George Gray, an early governor of New Zealand.

It was said to be named after its cry and to have "raced the hawk to the heavens".

Scientists now think the stories handed down by word of mouth and depicted in rock drawings refer to Haast's eagle, a raptor that became extinct just 500 years ago, shows their study in The Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.


Via: The New Zealand Herald

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