The former giant Australian eagle ate koalas

The largest Australian bird of prey alive today is the wedge-tailed eagle, with a wingspan of 180-250 cm. But the giant eagle that died 50,000 years ago, the remains of which were found in Mears Cave in South Australia, was 2.5 times larger. bigger than him. The bones of the then completely unknown predator were first found in 1956, this was supplemented by additional bones over the following decades, and finally, thanks to a new expedition in 2021, there were enough bones available to draw scientific conclusions from.

We currently know the parts of the skeleton that are colored grey.

Source: Ornithological Journal

The extinct giant vulture is A Ornithology Journal In the data published in a trade journal, he’s actually laughing Receive: Dynatoaetus gaffae His name means: Strong dry eagleIn honor of Priscilla Jaffe who was the first to deal with the fossils of this species of bird. Types of birds Conversation Made with the help of scientists doing the scientific description of the species.

The cave from which the bones of an eagle and its potential prey were recovered.

Source: The Conversation

Although the species is in Australia, in the Pleistocene, ca. It lived between 700,000 and 50,000 years ago, its closest biological relative is the geographically distant, iconic and very large vulture species of the Philippines, the monkey-eating vulture (Pithecophaga jefferyi)and not the wedge-tailed eagle, which is also Australian and was already alive at this time (Aquila Odax). The strange kinship is really strange only because the monkey-eating vulture belongs to the viper-like species, and these (apart from them) are smaller, more agile predators. However, the giant Australian eagle was a strong and powerful bird with huge, muscular legs, strong toes and large talons, showing that it hunted larger prey – such as a monkey-eating eagle or monkey. Ice Age Australia was inhabited by countless large potential prey animals that the giant eagle would have defeated. (Remember, the New Zealand Haast’s eagle hunted huge moose!)

See also  Croats can enter the United States without a visa

A vulture eating a monkey, one of the largest vultures alive today

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The giant Australian eagle had only two size rivals on our planet, the Cuban eagle Gigantohirax Suarez The New Zealand Haast eagle (Herateus Mori) is greater than him. Now that experts already know enough of its bones, they have been able to identify other remains belonging to this giant, so it turns out that the bird was widespread in the southern part of Australia. According to the researchers, the koala (4-15 kilograms), which could easily be hunted on tall trees based on its size and strength, was not too large prey for him, nor was the fox Kakuzu (1.2-4.5 kilograms). A koala bone was also found in the cave where most of the giant eagle’s remains were found, as well as wombats, bandits, and rat kangaroos – any of these could have been prey for the giant eagle. So far, no traces of a giant eagle’s beak or talons have been identified on any mammalian bone, but the simple and wonderful reason for this is that no one has looked for them.

Rat kangaroo, approx. An animal weighing one and a half kilos

Source: wikimedia commons

The giant eagle appears to have died out along with the megafauna in Pleistocene Australia about 50,000 years ago, it is likely that it was a specialized predator whose prey also died at that time, thus taking with it the eagle that could not adapt to others. prey types. At the same time, the giant eagle (cryptogyps), a bird that specializes in the carcasses of animals that make up megafauna.

See also  Index - Abroad - People arriving in small boats will not be granted asylum

Today, only the wedge-tailed eagle remains, which hunts indiscriminately.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *