Tagged: moa

It’s a Friday night in Invercargill for eastern moa during the Ice Age - Lost Worlds, Vanished Lives

Nic Rawlence May 11, 2022

In the depths of winter, most people from southern New Zealand head to warmer climes for a much-needed dose of Vitamin D. Yet during the height of the last Ice Age, one species of moa did just the opposite.  I’m reminded of Bill Bailey’s En Route to Normal tour that visited Dunedin last year where he was performing one of his … Read More

The mystery of the moa: did these feathered giants call Rakiura Stewart Island home? - Lost Worlds, Vanished Lives

Nic Rawlence Nov 15, 2021

The scientists shield their eyes from the howling wind and flying sand as they carefully uncover the precious skeleton. If it wasn’t for the absence of giant sandworms, this could have been a scene straight out of Dune. Alex Verry and Matt Schmidt are on Rakiura Stewart Island at West Ruggedy Beach excavating a significant taonga, a moa skeleton. Surrounding … Read More

Land of the chonky birds: How and why did New Zealand have so many feathered giants? - Lost Worlds, Vanished Lives

Nic Rawlence May 31, 2021

The eastern moa is stuck fast in the swamp, its thick legs having punched through the peat into the liquid blue clay beneath. Death is inevitable, whether from starvation or from above. Unable to move, the moa can only eat what it can reach around it, if anything. The forests that covered this area during warmer times are … Read More

Are deer the new moa revisited: the MythBusters episode - Lost Worlds, Vanished Lives

Nic Rawlence Apr 21, 2019

In a rockshelter at the base of a giant two-storey house-sized boulder, Jamie and Janet strike pay dirt. A few centimetres under the floor of this dry overhang are the tell tale signs of a prehistoric megafaunal latrine. We’re going on a moa hunt: bones and coprolites can be found under giant boulders like this one. Photo courtesy of … Read More

New Zealand, the place that makes giant birds - From Past to Present

Michael Knapp Mar 20, 2019

Fourteen years ago, I was a PhD student somewhere half-way through my degree and had just published my first paper. As I proudly flicked through the hard copy of the journal, I noticed another article that caught my interest. Using DNA extracted from ancient bones, an international team lead by researchers from Oxford University and Palaecol Research in … Read More

Are deer the new moa: Ecosystem re-wilding or a flight of fancy? - Lost Worlds, Vanished Lives

Nic Rawlence Feb 08, 2019

It’s the depths of winter and I’m squatting in the snow, surrounded by southern beech forest, using a pair of tweezers to pick up fresh steaming deer poo. Pooper scooper: Braving the cold in the name of science, these deer droppings are a harbinger of a changing world. Photo courtesy of Jamie Wood. My wife Maria, and palaeoecologist … Read More

Dead as the moa: oral traditions show that early Māori recognised extinction - Guest Work

Guest Author Sep 07, 2018

Priscilla Wehi, Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research; Hēmi Whaanga, University of Waikato, and Murray Cox, Massey University Museums throughout Aotearoa New Zealand feature displays of enormous articulated skeletons and giant eggs. The eggs are bigger than two hands put together. This is all that remains of the moa. Tracing extinctions that happened centuries ago … Read More

Could – & should – the moa be a goer again? - BioBlog

Alison Campbell Jun 03, 2018

I’m starting to gear up for some Schol Bio preparation days in the regions (hi, Hawkes Bay! See you in 4 weeks!) and realised that I haven’t written anything specifically focused on those exams for a while. So I thought that putting something together would be a good way to spend a rather wet Sunday. At these days we usually … Read More