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RE: Birds vs. the pterosaurs



At 01:05 AM 07/02/01 -0800, Jaime A. Headden wrote:
  We, for instance, did not outcompete the dodo or the moa, we
intentially hunted-out or exterminated them as either pests or
food, or ornamentation (various Hawai'ian birds, for instance,
or leopards [nearly there]).

This is not quite correct. Moas (at least the larger species) were probably hunted to extinction; it is highly questionable that any survived until Western explorers reached New Zealand, but introduced species brought in by the Maori may have hastened things along, especially for the smaller moas (eg Polynesian rats) though this is, also, far from certain. Though dodos were certainly hunted intensely they probably disappeared in part a result of predation by introduced species, including monkeys and hogs.


It is highly unlikely that hunting of the Hawaiian Honeycreepers and O'os for feather cloaks contributed to their extinction; one of the most widely sought after, the I'Iwi, is still a reasonably common species (though declining). Early extinctions were probably the result of the clearing of most lowland forest, much of it by the early Polynesians; more recent ones the result of the introduction of avian malaria and pox (and the accidental introduction of mosquitoes) in the 19th century.


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Ronald I. Orenstein Phone: (905) 820-7886
International Wildlife Coalition Fax/Modem: (905) 569-0116
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