DNA evidence suggests humans hunted moa to extinction

(Phys.org) —A new study conducted by an international team of researchers points to humans as the cause of the sudden extinction of all species of moa in New Zealand approximately 600 years ago. In their paper published ...

Scientists use fossilized feces to reconstruct moa diet

(Phys.org) —Until it became extinct in the 15th century, the moa, a flightless bird, played a significant role in New Zealand's ecology. In a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Alan ...

Extinct moa rewrites New Zealand's history

(PhysOrg.com) -- The evolutionary history of New Zealand's many extinct flightless moa has been re-written in the first comprehensive study of more than 260 sub-fossil specimens to combine all known genetic, anatomical, geological ...

Scientists 'rebuild' giant moa using ancient DNA

(PhysOrg.com) -- Scientists have performed the first DNA-based reconstruction of the giant extinct moa bird, using prehistoric feathers recovered from caves and rock shelters in New Zealand.

New Zealand's large moa did not disperse large seeds

A new study about New Zealand's extinct moa, involving acid baths and concrete mixers, by researchers from the University of Canterbury and Landcare Research, has revealed a surprising finding about their ability to disperse ...

Middle Earth preserved in giant bird dung

While the giant birds that once dominated New Zealand are all extinct, a study of their preserved dung (coprolites) has revealed many aspects of their ancient ecosystem, with important insights for ongoing conservation efforts.

Medical imaging helps define Moa diet

Medical scanners and the same software used to assess building strength after the Canterbury earthquakes, have revealed new information about the diet and dining preferences of New Zealand's extinct moa.

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Moa

The moa were eleven species (in six genera) of flightless birds endemic to New Zealand. The two largest species, Dinornis robustus and Dinornis novaezelandiae, reached about 3.7 m (12 ft) in height with neck outstretched, and weighed about 230 kg (510 lb).

Moa are members of the ratite group in the order Dinornithiformes. The eleven species of moa are the only wingless birds, lacking even the vestigial wings which all other ratites have. They were the dominant herbivores in New Zealand's forest, shrubland and subalpine ecosystems for thousands of years, and until the arrival of the Māori were hunted only by the Haast's Eagle. It is generally considered that most, if not all, species of Moa died out by Maori hunting and habitat decline before European discovery and settlement.

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