Jan 10, 2009

Extinct Moa to be brought back to life?

A few years ago a minor furore was created when Maori claimed exclusive genetic copyright to the Moa, which they had hunted to extinction about 500 years ago.

In January, 2009 the New Scientist magazine published a list of 10 extinct animals that could walk the Earth again as a consequence of recent advances in DNA technology. The list includes the Moa, of which the two largest species, Dinornis robustus and Dinornis novaezelandiae, reached about 3.6 metres (12 feet) in height with neck outstretched, and weighed about 250 kg (550 lb).

There is plenty of Moa DNA to be found in well-preserved bones and even eggs in New Zealand, so obtaining a Moa genome should not be difficult. Although only distantly related to Ostriches, it may be possible to boot up the Moa genome in an Ostrich egg.

We trust that our current fashions in racialism will not be allowed to impede this interesting possibility.

Further reading

New Scientist: Ten extinct beasts that could walk the Earth again.

Photo credit: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. Elephantine Moa (Dinornis elephantopus), an Extinct Wingless Bird, in the Gallery of Fossils, British Museum, [1854–58]. Photographer; Roger Fenton (British, 1819–1869).


kuaka said...

How fast will a second extinction take, one wonders?

p.s. one can't copyright a genome, only patent it - unless NZ intellectual property law has radically departed from that in the rest of the world. And like copyright, a patent has a limited term anyway.

Sarndra said...

Fascinating indeed...and i fully concur with your sentiments.

Canterbury Heritage said...

A second extinction of the Moa would hopefully occur long after the demise of the last of the mutant apes with the cognitive design faults in the hard wiring.


Should have written "when Maori claimed the exclusive right to copy the Moa DNA."

As to the sentiments, there was a time when maori had a different meaning. Maori (now enjoying a capital M) currently implies partial genetic inheritance from a Polynesian sub-culture. But should that original meaning return, then we would all be maori, regardless of the ethnicity of our forebears.