.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}
Dear Kitty
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
  New Zealand: how giant moa bird became extinct

This video from New Zealand is called Moa Footprints.

Mighty Moa Demise Detailed


June 15, 2005 — The moa, the biggest bird that ever lived, was hunted to extinction partly because of the extreme length of time it took the giant creature to reach reproductive maturity, scientists say.

The moa once thronged across New Zealand before being wiped out several hundred years ago by the Maori, the Polynesians who according to legend migrated to Aotearoa ("the land of the long white cloud") by canoe from the Cook Islands around seven centuries ago or longer.

The flightless, wingless bird, a cousin of the kiwi, stood up to 3.5 meters (11.5 feet) high and, at 250 kilos (550 pounds), was a plentiful source of meat.

But how did a small Maori population, armed only with close-range wooden weapons and traps, wipe out such a plentiful species in such a large country?

The answer, according to the new research, may be found in growth rings in the bones of these extinct giants.

These marks are common in many animal species and are caused by differing growth rates in changing seasons.

But bird species do not have these rings, as in most cases, their growth phase is confined to less than a year.

The moa, though, was the exception.

Examination of rings in stored bones suggest that the two moa species, luxuriating in the safety of New Zealand's unique ecosystem, may have taken several years to reach reproductive maturity and up to a decade to attain skeletal maturity.

That made them "extremely vulnerable" to hunting.

Read more here.

See also here.


Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home
My diary on peace and wars, arts, sciences, politics, the fight for economic and social justice, the environment, and more. Backup for http://dearkitty1.wordpress.com/

April 2005 / May 2005 / June 2005 / July 2005 / August 2005 / December 2006 / April 2007 / August 2007 / February 2008 / May 2008 / May 2012 /

Powered by Blogger