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Re: New Zealand's Giant Eagle Showed Rapid Size Gain

At 01:11 PM 1/6/2005, John Bois wrote:
Is that the giant chicken?  Not as big as moa.  NZ was isolated for a very
long time, allowing for evolution of even greater size, perhaps.  How
would climate affect things? What about the "predation" comment?

The largest known raptor on New Caledonia is the Swamp Harrier, which is probably still undersized by comparison to the extinct flightless galliform; and NC is also an ancient continental remnant with many unique plants, so I don't think age is an issue. On climate, I was referring both to the ecogeographic "rule" in which homeothermic animals in colder regions tend to be larger, and to the idea that a large aerial predator of ground birds is perhaps more likely in a country whose climate and soil led to the development of extensive open areas at higher elevations.

The original release talks about the absence of other predators, not about predation on the eagle itself, unless I missed something?

Ronald I. Orenstein Phone: (905) 820-7886
International Wildlife Coalition Fax/Modem: (905) 569-0116
1825 Shady Creek Court
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada L5L 3W2 mailto:ron.orenstein@rogers.com