Skip to main content

Moa

I just love huge birds. Huge Ravens, Huge Eagles, Huge Hummingbirds. So obviously, gigantic extinct flightless creatures of awesome would also capture my interest. Too bad humans killed them all.. they went extinct in only a few hundred years ago. I should also mention that when I say Moa, I'm actually referring to eleven separate species within six genera.
Image from Zoological
Society of London / LiveScience

Like yesterday's gigantic insect, Moas inhabited New Zealand, where they evolved into giant, flightless creatures because there were no land mammals (aside from bats) to compete with. The Moas only predator (until man) was the similarly gigantic Haast's Eagle, now also extinct, but that had a 10ft wingspan.

The largest species of Moa stood 6ft tall at the back, and none of them had wings, even vestigial ones, which is very unique among birds. Feathers show that they were red and brown, and their eggs measured roughly 24cm in length. Because of their lack of predators, it is believed that Moas lived 50 years or more. Most species exhibited sexual dimorphism, with the females being larger and heavier than the males. Interestingly, the Moas closest relatives are not the extant flightless Kiwis, nor are they the Australian Cassowaries and Emus. Tinamous, smaller South American birds, are now said to be their nearest cousins.

The downfall of the Moa began around 1280CE, when people first inhabited the islands of New Zealand. The Mos were not used to these new hunters, and they became easy prey.  Their habitats were diminished, and they were hunted for their meats and bones. By the 1400s, they were believed to be extinct. Carbon-14 testing supports that timeline, though hunters claimed to have spotted Moas for several hundred years after. Even today, there are individuals who claim to see Moas.

Comments

  1. First I want to congratulate you for this amazing blog!
    We Are Pleased To Announce The Launch Of Mobile Movies in 3gp format, About Dubai, Bollywood Actor news Update And Many More.

    To start just go to http://3gpdubbedmovies.blogspot.com/
    We hope you like it. Please send us any feedback on the movies and help us improve the sites further.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Bornean Orangutan

The Bornean Orangutan is one of two extant Orangutan species in the world. It is the third largest primate (after Gorillas) and is the largest primarily tree-dwelling animal in the world. Males are substantially larger than females, and average at around 165lbs. Bornean Orangutans are largely solitary. A handful might live within a small range but they will seldom interact with one another. Males and females only meet up to breed, which happens only once every several years. A young Orangutan will stay with it's mother for about five years, and the females tend to go about eight years between births. That is the longest interim period of any animal! Sadly, the Bornean Orangutans are in a lot of trouble. They need large forests in order to thrive, and deforestation and habitat degradation has left many homeless. They are also hunted for meat and for traditional medicines. Conservation areas are being established to help these guys in the wild, and it is believed that there are a

Four!

For anyone who was counting, yesterday was our birthday-- four years! Four years filled with animals from A to Z, more than 1,100 of them! I can't thank my readers enough, it's been wonderful! And in celebration of that milestone... I'm taking a break. Hopefully not forever, but for a little bit at least. In the mean time I plan on getting a new layout out, along with some updates to some of the older articles. I'll post updates here and on the Facebook page, I'm also brainstorming some new animal-related projects, so keep an eye out! Thanks again for four awesome years!

10 Years?!

My goodness! It's been 6 years since I went on hiatus, and now more than 10 years since AaD was born, and what a world we've moved in to! Animal a Day is coming back- but in the meantime, check us out on Facebook, for your daily dose of #BIRDNEWS