Animal Mummy
Biographical Information
Clas Unknown
Species Megalapteryx didinus
Age 500-600 years ago
Length 65 - 95 cm
Culture Unknown
Site Cromwell, New Zealand
Current Location
Location Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
Catalog # Unknown
The Moa, a giant flightless bird, now extinct, was naturally mummified and is in the collection of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. It was originally obtained by an individual in 1863 and sold to the museum in 1943. This speciman was an Upland Moa, unlike most other moa species, the upland moa had a sharp beak, and the comparative size of the eye sockets and nose suggest that its sense of smell was better than its eyesight.


Found a cave near Cromwell, in Otago, it had been naturally mummified by the dry, cold conditions of the cave.


The mummified remains show two types of feathers: some with a greyish-white base, becoming blacker and ending in a white tip, giving a mottled effect, and others with a plain or slightly streaky appearance.


Once common in New Zealand's South Island subalpine zone. It was distinct from other moa species in its smaller, less bulky build and feathered lower legs.

Archaeological evidence suggest upland moa once nested in rock shelters.

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