Sometimes nature is just too incredibly badass for its own good. Case in point: in an island environment that lacked large predatory mammals, the Evolver (As opposed to the Creator? No? Not a single laugh? Eh, you’re right.) deemed that not nearly enough large-scale slaughter was taking place. And then it remedied the problem right then and there. Apparently science has proven the (prior) existence of Haast’s Eagle, an enormous raptor capable of (easily) devouring your children/loved ones. The most terrifying part? This isn’t some prehistoric beast fighting with archaeopteryx for airspace – Haast’s Eagle only became extinct 500 years ago. Which means that, had Columbus had been correct in thinking he could sail across the Atlantic to reach India, there’s the possibility that, due to inevitable deviations from course on a journey of that magnitude, instead of arriving at Plymouth Rock or Pondicherry and having this exchange:
Columbus: “Well, ‘ello, there chap! The name’s Chris, and I do believe I’ve found a bit o’ the old India here, eh!” (I don’t speak Ligurian, so we’re making Mr. Columbus British/Cockney for the moment.)
Native American/Indian: looks quizzically at this strange, pale gentleman
Columbus: “A quiet bloke you are! A’right, then! We’ll just be takin’ your lands and women and delivering disease and death to your people! Pip, pip, Cheerio!”
Native American/Indian: falls to the ground, dead from measles
He might have been having this one on the shores of New Zealand:
Columbus: “Oy! Well it looks like there’s no one—ahhrrgghhhhh”
Haast’s Eagle: tearing Chris limb from limb to get at the sweet nectar inside
History, it seems, may have unfolded quite differently (the absence of the Americas notwithstanding), though I will leave the exploration of that alternate history to the likes of Harry Turtledove.
To make Haast’s Eagle even more impressive (wholly unnecessary at this point, but why the hell not?), the well-learned (I assume) Dr. Scofield claims that Haast’s Eagle was so deadly and ferocious a predator that it was essentially an aerial lion. That’s right. The damn thing was a griffin.
Haast’s Eagle was cooked up just to prey on flightless birds. Let us give thanks that we’re at the top of the food chain at the moment because – if this lethal monstrosity is the earth’s response to too many giant turkeys, imagine what kind of Hell-spawned demon would be devised to deal with the warhead-toting species that seems to be running the show at the moment. God help us if Gaia decides we’ve gotten out of line and need to be taught a lesson.
Nature, I salute (and fear) you.
Note: I am aware that this article makes no scientific, historical, or logical sense. And I’m fine with that.