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Re: MORE ON MOAS!
> I don't want to get too far from evidence here, but what about moa
>coloration? Modern ratites are pretty dull for the most part, but then
>again, cassowaries are quite colorful.
But the bright colours are bare skin; the feathers are all basic black.
Some New Zealand birds, like the
>kakapo, are yellowish and green, while the Takahe (about the size of a
>small moa?) is blue with an orange bill. Moas seem to be almost
>universally depicted as drab, but one has to wonder. I don't suppose
>Maori cave paintings can help out (I assume their palette wasn't very
>varied) but has anyone found moa feathers? And if so, do they retain any
>color after all those years?
> -nick L.
Moa feathers ARE known but (like mammoth hairs) probably have "foxed" too
much to give a good guide as to colour. According to the article in "A
Dictionary of Birds" (Cmpbell & Lack, eds): "Surviving feathers, at least of
Megalapteryx, are less 'degenerate' than the norm for struthious birds.
They have aftershafts but no barbules and some show vane pigmentation
(purplish black centres with golden buff edges)."
Ronald I. Orenstein Phone: (905) 820-7886 (home)
International Wildlife Coalition Fax/Modem: (905) 569-0116 (home)
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