back to article NZ scientists identify giant, man-eating eagle

Scientists appear to have confimed that a legendary man-eating flying beast which terrorised New Zealand's Maori actually existed, the Independent reports. Maori lore tells of the Te Hokioi - a "huge black-and-white predator with a red crest and yellow-green tinged wingtips" - and named after its cry, as locals explained to …


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  1. John Hawkins
    Black Helicopters

    Te Pouakai

    "Haast's Eagle (Harpagornis moorei), was a massive, now extinct eagle that once lived on the South Island of New Zealand. It is the largest eagle known to have existed. It is believed that the Māori called it Pouakai; the often-cited name Hokioi (or hakawai) refers to the aerial display of the New Zealand Snipe — specifically, the extinct South Island subspecies." according to Wikipedia

    If you trust Wikipedia of course. Here's a better reference for all you twitchers out there :

  2. Efros

    Haast's Eagle

    Been known about for a while, I remember seeing a Documentary concerning this and other giant NZ fauna "Monsters We Met".

  3. Tom 7

    Old hat required

    There is already evidence of this bird eating humans - there is an NZ skull with a claw-hole in it.

    I hope we can get some dna and bring it back to life - love to see that sort out my neighbours psychotic doberman.

  4. TeeCee Gold badge

    "It was designed as a killing machine."

    No it bloody wasn't. It evolved as a killing machine. One carelessly chosen phrase from an expert in the field leaves the rest of us listening to the prattlings of dickheads quoting it as justification for the next 20 years.

    F*** me. It's suddenly gone very warm around here.....

  5. BOBSta
    Thumb Up

    Argh! A giant bird

    Any chance of a Ray Harryhausen style stop-motion Playmobile recreation video?

  6. markfiend

    Evolved not "Designed"

    I wish scientists wouldn't used the word "designed" when talking about living things, it's ripe for distortion by creationists.

  7. Muscleguy

    Don't let creotards

    remove a perfectly good word from our vocabulary. Haast's eagle was designed, the point is that it was designed by Natural Selection. Darwin did not win the Argument from Design by denying that living things exhibited design, he did it by showing how you get design without a conscious designer.

    Anyway if we were designed by a deity I want a word or two about my bloody knees, I want eyes like cephalopods and can he/she/it hurry up and make us humans fully bipedal please? (oh my back!) oh and the breast ligaments of females need beefing up.

    BTW the headline and subheading on this article should be reported under the trade descriptions act. As your article admits we have known about Haast's eagle for a very long time. The research was taking part in the argument over whether it was an active, killing predator or an opportunist scavenger. Do try and read stuff before you write the headline.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    But surely it could have evolved

    and changed it's diet to sheep - there's certainly no shortage of them down there.

    It? Cos no one else has mentioned that

  9. Pirate Dave Silver badge

    giant man eating eagle?

    so the hobbits were safe, then?

  10. Muscleguy

    @AC 13:15 GMT

    Haast's eagle died out before the last moa was eaten. There was then a gap of a couple of hundred years before sheep were introduced, too long to wait for a hungry eagle.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    I for one quite liked the use of the word 'designed'. It's more or less on a par with the use of 'boffin' etc. It's an attractive use of language.

    On the other hand asking for the imposition of politically correct, pre-censored word sets in order to restrict the freedom of expression of a bunch of cranks seems, to me, to be ....repressive.

    Paris, because I like the way she's designed.

  12. This post has been deleted by its author

  13. J 3
    Thumb Down

    Re: Don't let creotards

    No, "design" is a BAD word for this, and I avoid it like the plague in my lectures. Unless you always write "appearance of design" or "appeared to be designed", which is unwieldy and useless anyway -- since we know the appearance is just that. But it would be the technically correct way.

    Grab your dictionary and look up design. It is always related to intention, planing, purpose, etc., while biological evolution has nothing of the sort. As a typical example:

    Mind you, I don't like the word "selection" either for similar reasons, but is a much lesser problem.

  14. Anonymous Coward


    Paris, because I like the way she's designed

    Now, if she could only get those ligaments beefed up for Muscleguy...

  15. Brian Miller

    Slartibartfast did it!

    Don't be silly, all of it is designed! Didn't you know the schematics for The Earth are over at Magrathea?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    You should see the seagulls around this way

    I suspect they might be related.

  17. Head


    Fascinating! It is around that time that Australia's mega Fauna were around as well.

  18. Charles Manning

    re:But surely it could have evolved

    Sheep only arrived with the WhiteManSourceOfAllEvil so these eagles would have had to go hungry for 500-odd years between the MaoriWhoCan'tDoAnyWrong clubbing the last moa to death and the arrival of sheep.

    But there's no lack of other large prey around NZ South Island. Seals were, and still are, plentiful and easy as anything to catch.

  19. Moss Icely Spaceport

    Tastes like chicken....

    Those tricksey Maoris, ate anything that walked and crawled....pass the Moa burgers will you, and the Kiwi chips too...

  20. HRH Martin

    Slow News day at the Vulture HQ?

    Must be a slow news day @ the Independent and Vulture HQ?

    Existence of the Haast Eagle and its dietry habits has been known for decades if not a century.

    Better toe the the party line on this one and say I'm sorry its extinct, but then undo all my good work by noting I'm glad not to share space with this apex predator... an apex predator with wings. Yoiks!

  21. Anonymous Coward


    My personal preference is "blah was designed for... sorry, _evolved to be suited for_ doing xyz".


    It's NOT a valid term. It's incorrect. It wasn't designed, it evolved. The reason it's the way it is is that if it wasn't the way it is then it'd be a different animal- or dead. Plus no two of the birds would have been identical, so there wasn't a single design. Some would have been faster, some fatter, some a slightly greener shade than the others. The ones with the most appropriate traits would be most likely to survive and propagate, and eventually the Haast's Eagle would have stopped existing and been replaced by one (or more) other Haast-derived species.

    Would people trust car reviews if the reviewer claimed that cars walked when it used wheels like any other? It's just a different verb- same as designed / evolved. Or an electronics expert saying that a voltage flows through a wire as opposed to being applied over it (and current flowing through it). A tiny distinction you might say, but it's still utterly wrong.

    I guess the closest you could get would be "it's design was perfect for a killing machine"; you're saying it has a design but not that it was designed.

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