So this photo just came up on my dash, and I’m sorry, excited tumblr users, but this is not actually the foot of a dinosaur that was miraculously preserved.
The Megalapteryx is actually an Upland Moa, an extinct bird species from New Zealand. They were driven to extinction due to over-hunting by the Māori tribes around 1400 AD.
But that does not make this any less awesome! Moas were enormous birds, growing to be about 3.6 m (12 ft) tall with their neck outstretched, and weighing up to 230 kg (510 lbs). They only had one natural predator, the Haast’s Eagle.
How big were Haast’s Eagles, if they were taking down moas? They had a surprisingly short wing span of 2.6-3 m (8 ft 6 in. to 9 ft 10 in.) and weighed an average of 12 kg (26 lbs). They took down moas by slamming into them from a dive, digging the talons on one foot into the moa’s back and then ripping at their throat and head with their other foot. Size doesn’t always matter!
Sad about the lack of really awesome, dinosaur-looking feet? Don’t fret, cassowaries are still up and running in the Great Down Under. Just watch out, they can kill with those silly, dinosaur feet of theirs.
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