The Moa was extinct within 200 years of the advent of widespread human habitation…


 Upland moa
The absence of mammalian predators and competitors in New Zealand, allowed dominant taxa to evolve from other animal groups that were functionally equal to mammals.  With the exception of a few oceanic islands, they have no functional or taxonomic equivalent anywhere in the world.Moa were the most significant alternative to mammals on New Zealand, taking the role of the largest dominant herbivores, the same role as large animals such as deer and elephants in other lands.After 170 years of controversy over the evolutionary history of the extinct ratite moa, research in 2009 identifies nine species, with three genera and six species in the Emeidae family, two Dinornis species in the Dinornithidae family, and one Megalapterygidae species.Moa are the only species in the Dinornithiformes order, and together with New Zealand’s iconic species, kiwi and tuatara, have endemic distinction at order level.Moa were the dominant herbivore in the New Zealand ecosystem, and another biological peculiarity, which evolutionary scientists relate to the prolonged isolation, size, and geographical complexity of the country, and the scarcity of terrestrial mammals.

New Zealand is Earth’s largest oceanic archipelago, and the most distant from any continental land mass, which together with a mixed topography, provided the conditions for natural selection processes that produced varied evolutionary outcomes.


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