STL Science Center

STL Science Center

28 April 2015

Finding the Moa

There are probably more papers about Moas than I could ever read. However, quality papers appear to be lacking online. There are interesting papers that are available though. There are some ichnofossil papers describing trackways, which are interesting and fun to read. The idea that the trackways, more like gametrails, are still apparent in the photographs the author shows is both amazing and somewhat unbelievable. After nearly 600 years of absence it is certainly conceivable that the trails could have disappeared, but being gametrails they were probably used by "man and beast alike" even after the disappearance of the Moa. Other papers explore the genetics problem of attempting to sequence amino acids in a selection of Moa. That is not an area of expertise for me, but I would recommend reading it to see what the authors attempted in their experiments. One of my favorite subjects, though, is addressed today. The last paper to be shared today is about sexual dimorphism. As with many birds, the females were significantly larger than the males. The authors discovered this and lumped three species into a single species using nuclear data. That is all the spoilers you will get for this paper, I encourage you to read it!

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