New Research Finds That Humans Are Responsible for Extinction of Giant Birds on New Zealand
by Jeremy Hance
Moas were a diverse group of flightless birds that ruled over New Zealand up to the arrival of humans, the biggest of these mega-birds stood around 3.5 meters (12 feet) with outstretched neck. While the whole moa family—comprised of nine species—vanished shortly after the arrival of people on New Zealand in the 13th Century, scientists have long debated why the big birds went extinct. Some theories contend that the birds were already in decline due to environmental changes or volcanic activity before humans first stepped on New Zealand’s beaches. But a study released today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) finds no evidence of said decline, instead pointing the finger squarely at us.  To find the moa’s smoking gun, scientists analyzed two different sets of DNA from 281 specimens made up of four species: the South Island giant moa (Dinornis robustus), the biggest of the family; the heavy-footed moa (Pachyornis elephantopus); the eastern moa (Emeus crassus); and the coastal moa (Euryapteryx curtus). Instead of showing a slow, genetic decline, the DNA told a different story: moas were thriving even as humans arrived…
(read more: MongaBay)
illustration by MIchael B.H./Wikimedia Commons

New Research Finds That Humans Are Responsible for Extinction of Giant Birds on New Zealand

by Jeremy Hance

Moas were a diverse group of flightless birds that ruled over New Zealand up to the arrival of humans, the biggest of these mega-birds stood around 3.5 meters (12 feet) with outstretched neck. While the whole moa family—comprised of nine species—vanished shortly after the arrival of people on New Zealand in the 13th Century, scientists have long debated why the big birds went extinct. Some theories contend that the birds were already in decline due to environmental changes or volcanic activity before humans first stepped on New Zealand’s beaches. But a study released today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) finds no evidence of said decline, instead pointing the finger squarely at us.

To find the moa’s smoking gun, scientists analyzed two different sets of DNA from 281 specimens made up of four species: the South Island giant moa (Dinornis robustus), the biggest of the family; the heavy-footed moa (Pachyornis elephantopus); the eastern moa (Emeus crassus); and the coastal moa (Euryapteryx curtus). Instead of showing a slow, genetic decline, the DNA told a different story: moas were thriving even as humans arrived…

(read more: MongaBay)

illustration by MIchael B.H./Wikimedia Commons

  1. bchinchin808 reblogged this from rhamphotheca
  2. wolffeeder reblogged this from thesatyrsglade
  3. loveoutlastsdeath reblogged this from thesatyrsglade and added:
    we really need to address the unending, unceasing work that is done in the name of consumption and address it as this...
  4. thesatyrsglade reblogged this from naturman
  5. naturman reblogged this from zeropoint3
  6. deathclawenthusiast reblogged this from scientificillustration
  7. ellanarosetw reblogged this from flautistsarecool
  8. i-lost-my-doctor reblogged this from angel--in--training
  9. angel--in--training reblogged this from flautistsarecool
  10. flautistsarecool reblogged this from rhamphotheca
  11. netflix-and-tea reblogged this from theunreadlibrarian
  12. theunreadlibrarian reblogged this from rhamphotheca
  13. akzoo reblogged this from rhamphotheca
  14. krynnibear reblogged this from scientificillustration
  15. xealsea reblogged this from scientificillustration
  16. vanesa reblogged this from rocketsandorscience
  17. owlslovecatmint reblogged this from deamhan
  18. speculative-evolution reblogged this from scientificillustration
  19. drscottisderivativefree reblogged this from scientificillustration and added:
    rhamphotheca
  20. usschxkov reblogged this from scientificillustration
  21. duicerd reblogged this from thegreenwolf
  22. ihasquestions reblogged this from scientificillustration
  23. aristocleia reblogged this from somuchscience
  24. adhrpr reblogged this from scientificillustration
  25. sorrowon937 reblogged this from scientificillustration
  26. mahoubirdprincess reblogged this from scientificillustration
  27. atterratt reblogged this from scientificillustration
  28. spookyflutterbat reblogged this from deamhan
  29. londonswaves reblogged this from flopajake
  30. curiosabiologia reblogged this from scientificillustration