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Re: The duck that ruled the world



>> If moa, elephant birds, and dromornithids are so
easily snuffed, why doesn't man drive rhea, ostriches, and emus into
extinction?  Because they can hide, that's what!<<
According to Jared Diamond (Germs, Guns, and Steel),  Edward O. Wilson (The
Diversity of Life), and me (I didn't write a book, though), these birds (and not
just birds, virtually all megafauna) died off because they didn't instinctively
recognize humans as predators.  There is a definite correlation between 
decreasing
diversity of megafauna and human spread all around the world EXCEPT in Africa.
Why?  Because humans evolved in Africa and the megafauna there recognized us as
predators.  When humans moved to New Zealand, it wasn't just the large birds 
that
suffered, it was EVERYTHING bigger then a cat.  Of course, some large birds
survived (cassowaries and rheas) and with them, the ability to hide or defend
themselves or breed may have been factors in their survival (after all, N. 
America
still has bison, deer, moose, and antelope), but these animals are the 
exception.

>>The next question: Why didn't
any moa-sized species (the biggest moa, anyway) evolve (anywhere
else but islands) during the entire Cenozoic, when there was no Man?<<

What about those giant flightless birds in South America (can't remember what 
they
were called) and that duck thing (the one that ruled the world)?

Dan