Extinct Giant Moa Birds: Recontructed From DNA, “Clothed” With Prehistoric Feathers

July 3, 2009

(ChattahBox)—New Zealand scientists have achieved the first-ever DNA reconstruction of the extinct giant moa bird, using prehistoric feathers found in caves, with the help of a visual map provided from the extraction of ancient DNA from the feathers.

The giant moa bird, weighed about 250 kilograms and grew to 2.5 meters tall, with smaller moa species the size of modern day turkeys. The obscure moa birds once roamed the forests of New Zealand, before the time of man, until they became extinct, sometime in the 1500s due to over hunting by the native Maori who appeared around 1280 AD.

The hungry Maori, essentially ate the moa birds to extinction.

Scientists have been able to surmise the relative size and different moa bird species from bones and fossils, but never before, have they been able to visually reconstruct a moa bird with its feathers. “Until now, the scientific community has not known what the 10 different species of moa looked like,” said PhD student Nicolas Rawlence from the University‚Äôs Australian Centre for Ancient DNA.

With the help of ancient DNA, the scientists were successful in linking the feathers to four different moa species. They reconstructed a stout-legged moa, heavy-footed moa, upland moa and the South Island giant moa. The giant moa was one of the biggest birds ever known to exist in the world.

The scientists discovered that most of the moa birds were clothed with dull brown feathers, but some species exhibited white-tipped feathers lending them a spectacular speckled appearance.

Scientists from the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA are excited about using these findings to reconstruct other extinct birds by extracting DNA from feathers found in fossil deposits.

Source


Comments

2 Responses to “Extinct Giant Moa Birds: Recontructed From DNA, “Clothed” With Prehistoric Feathers”

  1. grammar is good for you on October 11th, 2010 4:46 pm

    How did this page not get edited? There are so many random commas in this article it’s pathetic. Learn yourself some English language.

    -“New Zealand scientists have achieved the first-ever DNA reconstruction of the extinct giant moa bird, using prehistoric feathers found in caves, with the help of a visual map provided from the extraction of ancient DNA from the feathers.”
    –That’s a run-on sentence. Change to: “New Zealand scientists have achieved the first-ever DNA reconstruction of the extinct giant moa bird using prehistoric feathers found in caves. The help of a visual map provided from the extraction of ancient DNA from the feathers was included.”

    -“The giant moa bird, weighed about 250 kilograms and grew to 2.5 meters tall, with smaller moa species the size of modern day turkeys. ”
    –Take the first comma out.

    -“The obscure moa birds once roamed the forests of New Zealand, before the time of man, until they became extinct, sometime in the 1500s due to over hunting by the native Maori who appeared around 1280 AD.”
    –Seriously? What is it with you sticking commas smack in the middle of the same thought? I want to know how you speak in real life. Does it, maybe, sound, something, like, this? This whole sentence is run-on failure. Change to: “The obscure moa birds once roamed the forests of New Zealand before the time of man. They became extinct sometime in the 1500s due to over hunting by the native Maori who appeared around 1280 AD.”

    -“The hungry Maori, essentially ate the moa birds to extinction.”
    –That’s a full sentence, take the bloody comma out. 1st grade calls for you.

    -“Scientists have been able to surmise the relative size and different moa bird species from bones and fossils, but never before, have they been able to visually reconstruct a moa bird with its feathers.”
    –Every sentence you write….can’t believe it. Take out the comma between “before” and “have,” it obstructs the same thought.

    Thank heavens the rest is tolerable. Hope you’ve been back to English class within the last year and a half you comma-happy idiot.

  2. Sue on October 11th, 2010 6:15 pm

    Grammar is good for you:

    Are you serious? You spend the time to post a 350-word rant against a couple of misplaced commas in a year old blog post on moa birds? Really?

    By my account, it’s cocktail time. Please, pour, yourself, a double.

    Regards,

    Sue, the “comma-happy idiot”

Got something to say? **Please Note** - Comments may be edited for clarity or obscenity, and all comments are published at the discretion of ChattahBox.com - Comments are the opinions of the individuals leaving them, and not of ChattahBox.com or its partners. - Please do not spam or submit comments that use copyright materials, hearsay or are based on reports where the supposed fact or quote is not a matter of public knowledge are also not permitted.