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Archeologists Unearth Enormous 3,300-Year-Old Prehistoric Bird Claw, and People Have Varying Opinions About What to Do With It

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  • A team of archeologists found a huge, mummified dinosaur – like claw while exploring a large cave system on Mount Owen.
  • The perfectly preserved claw had scaly skin, flesh, and muscles still attached to it.
  • Analysis results reveal that it was from an Upland Moa, a 3,300-year-old flightless bird endemic in New Zealand.
  • Now people have varying opinions on what to do with it.

A team of archeologists unearthed an enormous, almost perfectly-preserved, dinosaur-like claw. They found the mummified foot while exploring a large cave system on Mount Owen in New Zealand.

After retrieving and submitting it for analysis, test results revealed it was from a 3,300-year-old bird endemic in the said country. The claw specifically belonged to an Upland Moa; a large, prehistoric bird that went extinct about 700-800 years ago.

The claw had scaly skin, flesh, and muscles still perfectly-preserved.

There were three families, six genera, and nine species of the Moa birds, and they lived approximately 5-8.5 million years back. They mainly inhabited the South Island, and are most commoly found in the rocky subalpine areas like Mt. Owen and Mt. Arthur, which is north-west of Nelson.

A study of their DNA suggested that they resembled the South American Tinamou more than the Kiwis.

According to the New Zealand Birds Online, these birds evolved into different sizes and became “the largest terrestrial herbivorous in prehistoric New Zealand.”
Some subspecies of the Moa bird stood at a height of at least 12 feet.
However, an Upland Moa or Megalapteryx Didinus was no more than 4.2 feet in height.

It was the smallest of it’s kind, yet the most agile. They ate leaves and small woody branchlets.

This type of bird had a small head; a fine, pointed, slightly downward-pointing, bent bill; a big nostril; and large ear openings as well. It had three long, muscular, forward-turned toes, and one small backward-turned toe.

The Upland Moa had a small, delicate head as seen in this image.
In addition, each toe had a thick pointed claw. Apparently, these toes have acclimated for walking across snow.

Furthermore, Upland Moa birds have two kinds of feathers. Some had plain or somewhat streaky appearance, while some had a mottled-looking feather.

In 1839, a member of an aboriginal Maori tribe found an extraordinary fossilized bone in a river, and gave it to John W. Harris. Harris was a flax trader and an enthusiast of natural history.

The bone eventually ended in the hands of Sir Richard Owen, who worked in the Hunterian Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons in London. Owen soon concluded that it belonged to an unidentified, giant bird.

After much ridicule from the scientific community, Owen’s theories proved to be correct.
Thousands more of Moa bones were unearthed.
Sadly, humans hunted the Upland Moa birds to the point of extinction, and they abruptly disappeared about 700 years ago.

Due to the DNA that can be collected from the well-preserved remains, geneticists like Ankoh Yasuyuki Shirito took interest in cloning the bird. According to reports, the geneticist already did the preliminary work and he intends to “introduce the Moa bird’s DNA into chicken embryos.”

Netizens, however, have varying opinions about cloning the bird with some posting these on Twitter :

No matter what you do, don’t clone it. Not in 2020. We’ve had ENOUGH”

Hey let’s bring it back using its DNA and then open a theme park.”

The way #2020 has been going that thing is going to come back to life and threaten the existence of all mankind! PUT IT BACK!!!”

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