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taniwha

Why did Moas go extinct?

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Posted (edited)

For millions of years, nine species of large, flightless birds known as moas (Dinornithiformes) thrived in New Zealand. Then, about 600 years ago, they abruptly went extinct. Their die-off coincided with the arrival of the first humans on the islands in the late 13th century, and scientists have long wondered what role hunting by Homo sapiens played in the moas’ decline. Did we alone drive the giant birds over the brink, or were they already on their way out thanks to disease and volcanic eruptions? Now, a newb genetic study of moa fossils points to humankind as the sole perpetrator of the birds’ extinction. The study adds to an ongoing debate about whether past peoples lived and hunted animals in a sustainable manner or were largely to blame for the extermination of numerous species.

http://news.sciencemag.org/biology/2014/03/why-did-new-zealands-moas-go-extinct

Some of us may ask whats new? But there was always room to believe in such romantic myths that humans once lived at one with nature. Conservation is obviously drawn from experience lol.

That reminds me of the old Maori saying when cautioning someone who takes more than their share, "Friend! Might you even eat the feathers of the last Moa too?" lol

Edited by taniwha
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Why did Moas go extinct?

Because you touch yourself at night. /rimshot

Seriously, though, I will stick with humans hunting them into extinction, or at least close enough that they eventually gave up the ghost themselves. They're large, flightless birds, easy prey for hunter-gatherers, with no defenses against an influx of new predators. It happens all the time, and not just with humans.

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Posted (edited)

I agree with Hida, having probably not seen humans before, they had no natural fear. Like the dodo..

ie/ like the scene from "Life of Pi" when Piscine and Richard Parker make land on the small island.

Edited by g00dfella
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For millions of years, nine species of large, flightless birds known as moas (Dinornithiformes) thrived in New Zealand. Then, about 600 years ago, they abruptly went extinct. Their die-off coincided with the arrival of the first humans on the islands in the late 13th century, and scientists have long wondered what role hunting by Homo sapiens played in the moas' decline. Did we alone drive the giant birds over the brink, or were they already on their way out thanks to disease and volcanic eruptions? Now, a newb genetic study of moa fossils points to humankind as the sole perpetrator of the birds' extinction. The study adds to an ongoing debate about whether past peoples lived and hunted animals in a sustainable manner or were largely to blame for the extermination of numerous species.

http://news.sciencem...moas-go-extinct

Some of us may ask whats new? But there was always room to believe in such romantic myths that humans once lived at one with nature. Conservation is obviously drawn from experience lol.

That reminds me of the old Maori saying when cautioning someone who takes more than their share, "Friend! Might you even eat the feathers of the last Moa too?" lol

I was sure this was common knowlegde? I remember back in school, I was taugh this?

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I was sure this was common knowlegde? I remember back in school, I was taugh this?

The question is a political one as much as a scientific one.

There is something of a myth that many societies lived in harmony with nature and only took what they needed. As an immigrant to New Zealand, and working with a lot of Maori folk, I've often been told that Maori were great understanders of the natural balance; and that all the bad stuff that humans do to their environment arrived with the Europeans. This is clearly nonsense - but propaganda is a powerful tool.

The Polynesians of Easter Island stand as great testament to the fact that human exploitation and stupidity is universal.

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Humans are the worst thing that happened to earth.so I blame them to

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Humans are the worst thing that happened to earth.so I blame them to

It reminds me of Agent Smith from The Matrix commenting on humanity as a plague.

We've brought about the extinction of numerous species through destroying their habitats and hunting.

I can't see any flaw in your statement.

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Yup, my ancestors ate the ruddy lot, Yum.

But still, some elements in our myths suggest another line of reasoning in that the Moa could have been more of a populace if it were not for the hens abandoning their eggs, so much so that a proverb often thrown at uncaring mothers (human) that they were like the Moa, lay and leave.

One also wonders if chicken disease also contributed to the Moa's demise but certainly, both the Moa and the Giant Eagle dissapeared after the arrival of man and his baggage.

Its true that Maori seem to be crowing about conservation as is inherent in the practices of sustainable harvesting and moratotiums but maybe that resulted from seeing the Moa, all species at that, disappear forever.....

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I was sure this was common knowlegde?

Sure is. I don't know why international scientists didn't take what local scientists knew for decades and had the evidence to prove it seriously enough.

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Posted (edited)

I think all the Moa bones that can be found in abundance show without doubt that it was not just man, but vermin like the Rats Polynesians Worshiped at the time. Saying it was anything but the Maori's is just kidding oneself.

What I would like to know more about is just who were the first NZ Settlers? There seems to be indications, or perhaps rumours might be a better word? that people lived there before the arrival of the Maori, and rumours exist that the Maori ate the existing population. Is there any truth to that does anyone know?

Old thread on the topic HERE, but CS got involved and started invoking Mayans and all sorts, so it's hard to tell where that thread actually ended up.

However the paper came to the same conclusion - from the link:

“The paper presents a very convincing case of extinction due to humans,” says Carles Lalueza-Fox, an evolutionary biologist at the Institute of Evolutionary Biology in Barcelona, Spain, who was not involved in the research. “It’s not because of a long, natural decline.”

Edited by psyche101
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How is this new research?

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How is this new research?

How do you not know how science works?

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I think all the Moa bones that can be found in abundance show without doubt that it was not just man, but vermin like the Rats Polynesians Worshiped at the time. Saying it was anything but the Maori's is just kidding oneself.

Don't forget the main predator of the Moa was the now extinct Haast Eagle

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yup straight in the hangi! yum!

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Clone it.

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Would y'all like some moa?

Right here on the flo-a?

What about you, Fauna?

Y'wanna?

Harte

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Humans are the worst thing that happened to earth.so I blame them to

Humans are destructive, but if educated can change their ways. We saved the buffalo, California Condor, Black Footed Ferret, Whooping Crane and others from certain extinction, extinction that we nearly caused. So it we learn to value plants and animals we can live with them. The trouble is that in subsistence cultures, survival trumps any long term concern for the environment. The Maori perhaps did not fully understand that they were on a group of islands, after all New Zealand is fairly large and not easily transversed, perhaps they assumed, wrongly and to their detriment, that their land went on forever and that the Moa would never run out. Polynesians also had a habit of spreading the Polynesian Rat and pigs as well, and these no doubt cause massive destruction to ground nesting birds. I'm not sure if these came with the Maori or not but if so that no doubt sped up the Moa's demise.

However, I will say we have killed off a lot of species in the last several hundred years and our track record is pretty abysmal.

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Posted (edited)

What killed the Moa?

George W. Bush

Edited by We are lizard people

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Humans are destructive, but if educated can change their ways. We saved the buffalo, California Condor, Black Footed Ferret, Whooping Crane and others from certain extinction, extinction that we nearly caused. So it we learn to value plants and animals we can live with them. The trouble is that in subsistence cultures, survival trumps any long term concern for the environment. The Maori perhaps did not fully understand that they were on a group of islands, after all New Zealand is fairly large and not easily transversed, perhaps they assumed, wrongly and to their detriment, that their land went on forever and that the Moa would never run out. Polynesians also had a habit of spreading the Polynesian Rat and pigs as well, and these no doubt cause massive destruction to ground nesting birds. I'm not sure if these came with the Maori or not but if so that no doubt sped up the Moa's demise.

However, I will say we have killed off a lot of species in the last several hundred years and our track record is pretty abysmal.

It's the killing of animals that are known to be endangered that is bad. Such as the poaching of a rhino. Not as bad if you really do not know that there are not many left.

The last raccoon that I shot is a good example. I really don't know if it was a rare endangered species. I just knew that it was killing my chickens and I had to kill it. That is (on a small scale) similar to the thylacyne.

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It's the killing of animals that are known to be endangered that is bad. Such as the poaching of a rhino. Not as bad if you really do not know that there are not many left.

The last raccoon that I shot is a good example. I really don't know if it was a rare endangered species. I just knew that it was killing my chickens and I had to kill it. That is (on a small scale) similar to the thylacyne.

Ha, ha, I would guess you pretty well knew that raccoons are not only NOT endangered, but they have greatly expanded their native range. There is a difference in controlling very successful pest species and eradicating them. The Thylacine had a bounty placed on it, that certainly helped with its demise. I had hopes they might clone it and right a great wrong, but that seems unlikely.

In my lifetime I am seeing many of the large animals of the African savannah becoming endangered, including most of the big cats, and of course the tiger in Asia. It's really sad to think that one day the only ones you may be able to see will be in zoos.

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Ha, ha, I would guess you pretty well knew that raccoons are not only NOT endangered, but they have greatly expanded their native range. There is a difference in controlling very successful pest species and eradicating them. The Thylacine had a bounty placed on it, that certainly helped with its demise. I had hopes they might clone it and right a great wrong, but that seems unlikely.

I do "think" I know that about raccoons. However, I have no idea if there are endangered species of raccoon. I get your point though. Not quite apples to apples.

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Humans are destructive, but if educated can change their ways. We saved the buffalo, California Condor, Black Footed Ferret, Whooping Crane and others from certain extinction, extinction that we nearly caused. So it we learn to value plants and animals we can live with them. The trouble is that in subsistence cultures, survival trumps any long term concern for the environment. The Maori perhaps did not fully understand that they were on a group of islands, after all New Zealand is fairly large and not easily transversed, perhaps they assumed, wrongly and to their detriment, that their land went on forever and that the Moa would never run out. Polynesians also had a habit of spreading the Polynesian Rat and pigs as well, and these no doubt cause massive destruction to ground nesting birds. I'm not sure if these came with the Maori or not but if so that no doubt sped up the Moa's demise.

However, I will say we have killed off a lot of species in the last several hundred years and our track record is pretty abysmal.

Well said.

I suppose it's survival of the fittest. If neanderthals or monkeys possessed traits similar to that of the human mind, they'd be just as capable of what us humans have been doing for thousands of years.

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I don't know where the picture came from but Maori's didn't hunt with bows and arrows.

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Why did Moas go extinct?

Because you touch yourself at night. /rimshot

Seriously, though, I will stick with humans hunting them into extinction, or at least close enough that they eventually gave up the ghost themselves. They're large, flightless birds, easy prey for hunter-gatherers, with no defenses against an influx of new predators. It happens all the time, and not just with humans.

Even if it wasn't the humans, it could very easily have been the rats, cats, dogs and pigs they brought with them. All of those animals would eat the eggs and/or chicks.

They probably went extinct because they were Delicious!! :w00t:

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I don't know where the picture came from but Maori's didn't hunt with bows and arrows.

Lol well spotted.

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