Paul Scofield? Canterbury? What are the odds? Oh well, back to the story:
Ken Ashwell of the University of New South Wales in Australia and Paul Scofield of the Canterbury Museum in New Zealand wrote their conclusions in the peer-reviewed Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.
Using computed axial tomography, or CAT, the researchers scanned several skulls, a pelvis and a beak in an effort to reconstruct the size of the bird's brain, eyes, ears and spinal cord.
They compared their data on the Haast's eagle to characteristics of modern predator birds and scavenger birds to determine that the bird was a fearsome predator that ate the flightless moa birds and even humans.
Scientists believe the Haast's eagle became extinct about 500 years ago, most likely due to habitat destruction and the extinction of its prey species at the hands of early Polynesian settlers. Before the humans colonized New Zealand about 750 years ago, the largest inhabitants were birds like the Haast's eagle and the moa.Although perhaps sensationalized, the story reminds one that the birds of the air are not the birds of yesteryear. The article doesn't say what the wingspan was but it must have been huge.
Scofield said the findings are similar to what he found in Maori folk tales. "The science supports Maori mythology of the legendary pouakai or hokioi, a huge bird that could swoop down on people in the mountains and was capable of killing a small child," he said.