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Moa extinction occurred around 1300 Although moa skeletons were traditionally reconstructed in an upright position to create impressive height, analysis of their vertebral articulation indicates that they probably carried their heads forward, in the manner of a kiwi.
Analysis of the spacing of these tracks indicates walking speeds of between 3 and 5 km/h (1.75–3 mph). Therefore, the three species of Dinornis were reclassified as two species, one each formerly occurring on New Zealand's North Island (D. Examination of growth rings present in moa cortical bone has revealed that these birds were K-selected, as are many other large endemic New Zealand birds.These may eventually be classified as species or subspecies; Megalapteryx benhami (Archey) which is synonymised with M.didinus (Owen) because the bones of both share all essential characters.The fauna of the high rainfall west coast beech (Nothofagus) forests that included Anomalopteryx didiformis (bush moa) and Dinornis robustus (South Island giant moa); and 2.The fauna of the dry rainshadow forest and shrublands east of the Southern Alps that included Pachyornis elephantopus (heavy-footed moa), Euryapteryx gravis, Emeus crassus and Dinornis robustus.One factor that has caused much confusion in moa taxonomy is the intraspecific variation of bone sizes, between glacial and inter-glacial periods (see Bergmann’s rule and Allen’s rule) as well as sexual dimorphism being evident in several species.
Dinornis seems to have had the most pronounced sexual dimorphism, with females being up to 150% as tall and 280% as heavy as males—so much bigger that they were formerly classified as separate species until 2003.
The two other moa species that existed in the South Island; Pachyornis australis and Megalapteryx didinus might be included in a ‘subalpine fauna’, along with the widespread Dinornis robustus. australis is the rarest of the moa species, and the only one not yet found in Maori middens. Its name "upland moa" reflects the fact its bones are commonly found in the subalpine zone.
Its bones have been found in caves in the northwest Nelson and Karamea districts (such as Honeycomb Hill Cave), and some sites around the Wanaka district. However, it also occurred down to sea level where there was suitable steep and rocky terrain (such as Punakaiki on the west coast and Central Otago).
Because moa are a group of flightless birds with no vestiges of wing bones, questions have been raised about how they arrived in New Zealand, and from where.
There are many theories about the moa's arrival and radiation on New Zealand, but the most recent theory suggests that the moa arrived on New Zealand about 60 million years ago (Mya) and split from the "basal" (see below) moa species, Megalapteryx about 5.8 Mya instead of the 18.5 Mya split suggested by Baker et al. This does not necessarily mean there was no speciation between the arrival 60 Mya and the basal split 5.8 Mya, but the fossil record is lacking and is it most likely that early moa lineages existed but became extinct before the basal split 5.8 Mya.
The feature is associated with deep, resonant vocalisations that can travel long distances.