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Okay, the Moa is extinct. I admit it. But it doesn't have any forlimbs
So what? _Tyrannosaurus_ has tiny forelimbs, and those of _Carnotaurus_ are
even smaller. (And since _Carnotaurus_ is an Early Cretaceous abelisaur,
perhaps its direct descendents of the Late Cretaceous lost them altogether.)
Hesperornithids also have tiny forelimbs.
Plus it had feathers.
Grrrr.... So does _Caudipteryx_. And, even if you don't want to call them
feathers, a whole lot of Liaoning theropods have some form of feather-like
integumentary structures which I'm willing to believe are ancestral homologs
to bird feathers.
Not to mention the fact that the recent
molecular evidence shows that moas are closely releated to timinous, >who
I don't doubt that moas are birds, just that these days, with all we know
about theropods, you have to be very careful about identifying certain
characters as uniquely avian. Feathers, toothlessness, furcula,
Well, Kangaroo Island was part of the Austrailian mainland as late as
thousand years ago,
Makes no difference. Emus lived on Kangaroo Island quite happily for 12,000
years before the colonists wiped them out. The emus didn't shrivel up and
die as soon as Kangaroo island became isolated. Large birds can live on
tiny islands. So, if most of NZ was submerged during the Caenozoic, I think
the little islands that remained above water could have sustained
populations of moas. Perhaps the moas weren't as large as _Dinornis
maximus_, but they were moas nonetheless.
I'm not. Why? becuase there are NO moa fossils prior to the Pliocene. There
are dinosaur fossils, marine fossils way up near the top of the mountains
the southern big island. We're not talking about a gap or anything like
celocanths or platypi.
Yes we are. Absence of evidence is not always evidence of absence. I'm not
sure of the point you're making here. The fossil record for the moas is
non-existent before the Pliocene. The Australian fossil record of the
ornithorhynchids (platypus and relatives) is non-existent before the
Miocene. (Though there is a tooth from the Paleocene of South America named
_Monotrematum_ that has been considered a true ornithorhynchid; Cretaceous
monotremes like _Steropodon_ most likely do not belong in the
The fossil record of spiny anteaters (Tachyglossidae) is similarly
non-existent before the Miocene anywhere in the world. _Megalibgwilia_ is
the first we know of this lineage. But, I'm willing to bet that both
monotreme families evolved in Australasia, and that their ancestors were
there as far back in the Cretaceous, it's just that we haven't found them
(By the way, "platypodes" is the plural of platypus not platypi. Sorry to
Remember, theropods had arms with functional claws on them and big teeth.
Not all of them. (See above.)
Moas were pretty lazy beasts if the Maouris are to be belived.
Stupid moa. Why didn't they get off their fat asses and evolve a defense
against spears and nets. They only have themselves to blame for going
(Actually, I thought the big dinornithids DID indeed put up a fight against
the Polynesian hunters. They didn't just sit around basking in the sun
waiting for a Maori warrior to plunge a spear into its body. Those long moa
legs packed a lot of strength, and the clawed feet could be lethal.)
Timothy J. Williams
Iowa State University
Ames IA 50014
Phone: 515 294 9233
Fax: 515 294 3163
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