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Type: Journal article
Title: Youngest reported radiocarbon age of a moa (Aves: Dinornithiformes) dated from a natural site in New Zealand
Author: Rawlence, N.
Cooper, A.
Citation: Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand, 2013; 43(2):100-107
Publisher: SIR Publishing
Issue Date: 2013
ISSN: 0303-6758
Statement of
N J Rawlence and A Cooper
Abstract: The extinction date of the giant flightless New Zealand ratite bird, the crested moa (Pachyornis australis), is of considerable interest because the youngest verified remains are dated to the Pleistocene–Holocene transition c. 10,000 yr BP, which was characterised by severe climatic and habitat change, and are considerably earlier than the late Holocene extinctions of the other eight moa species. Analysis of a partial crested moa skeleton (NMNZ S23569) from Castle Keep Entrance, Bulmer Cave System, Mount Owen, South Island, generated a radiocarbon date of 564±26 yr BP (544–508 cal yr BP; 95.4% AD 1396–1442). As a result the Bulmer Cave specimen represents the youngest moa yet found from a natural site in New Zealand. Combined with additional crested moa remains dated to the late Holocene from Cheops Cave (Mount Arthur) and Magnesite Quarry (Cobb Valley), this indicates that crested moa did not go extinct during the Pleistocene–Holocene transition but survived until after Polynesian colonisation in c. AD 1280. The new radiocarbon dates reported here have important implications for the timing of moa extinction and the late survival of moa in alpine areas of New Zealand.
Keywords: Crested moa; moa extinction; Mount Owen; New Zealand; Pachyornis australis
Rights: © 2012 The Royal Society of New Zealand
RMID: 0020127472
DOI: 10.1080/03036758.2012.658817
Grant ID:
Appears in Collections:Earth and Environmental Sciences publications
Environment Institute publications

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