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Science Briefing

Extinct giant eagle was predator, not scavenger

September 12, 2009|Times Wire Reports

Computer scans of fossils have helped solve a mystery over the nature of a giant raptor known as Haast's eagle, which became extinct about 500 years ago.

Researchers report in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology that the eagle -- which lived in the mountains of New Zealand -- was a predator, not a mere scavenger as many thought.

The 40-pound eagle would have swooped to prey on flightless birds -- and possibly even the rare unlucky human -- they concluded.

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