One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A large extinct flightless bird resembling the emu, formerly found in New Zealand.
Family Dinornithidae: several genera and species; Dinornis maximus was the tallest known bird, with a height of about 10 feet (3 m), but Megalapteryx didinus, which may have survived until the early 19th century, was much smaller
- ‘Some 200 pebbles, collectively weighing 2.5 kg were recovered from the gut region of a moa skeleton (extinct large flightless bird) in New Zealand.’
- ‘Other ratites, the elephant bird of Madagascar and the moas of New Zealand, have been extinct for several centuries, probably as a result of human hunting.’
- ‘The large, flightless moa bird that roamed New Zealand in ancient times grew much more slowly than modern birds, according to a new study of their bones.’
- ‘Ostriches, emus, cassowaries, rheas, kiwis, moas and elephant birds really are more closely related to each other than they are to any other birds.’
- ‘Owen also identified New Zealand's giant flightless bird, the moa or dinornis, from a piece of shin just 15 cm long.’
Mid 19th century: from Maori.
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