|First Sighting||40,000 years ago|
|Country||New Zealand, (Maybe Australia)|
|Habitat||Remote Forests of New Zealand|
When people first arrived in New Zealand, they encountered giant wingless birds known as Moas (the family Dinornithidae). These birds were distinct from their relatives (tinamous, cassowaries, emu, ostriches. though their closest relatives are flighted south american tinamous) which possessed wings, whereas Moas had lost the bones completely. The largest Moa species could reach up to 4m in size, larger than any other bird on the islands. Due to what many believe to be over hunting by early Maori, Moas became extinct sometime between the late 1300s and early 1500s.
However, in the 1840s, Australian bird painter John Gould reported seeing what he described as "giant kiwis" on the South Island of New Zealand, that were around a meter tall and had spurred feet. Gould's spurred feet description had matched those of fossilized Moa footprints found on the North Island. In 1978, a Japanese research team investigated the South Island to see if Moas were still living in the area, but didn't gain any evidence of continued survival. It has been suggested that the people reporting have seen Moas were exaggerating, or seeing large individuals of known birds, such as cassowaries or emu. Others however, still argue that some small species of Moa have survived to the present.
Genyornis Newtoni - An extinct species of large bird similar to the Moa.