PerspectiveArchaeology

Blitzkrieg Against the Moas

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Science  24 Mar 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5461, pp. 2170-2171
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5461.2170

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Summary

The prevailing view among archeologists is that the moas, large flightless birds indigenous to New Zealand, were gradually hunted to extinction after the arrival of the Maoris. However, as Diamond explains in a lively Perspective, new findings (Holdaway and Jacomb) suggest that the moas became extinct within 100 years of the arrival of the Maoris in New Zealand, ten times more quickly than previously thought. Apparently, their slow reproductive rate meant that they were unable to replace their brethren killed by Maori hunters, resulting in their rapid extinction.