Leg Bones of Australian Dinornis, 1872 - stock photo
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Leg Bones of Australian Dinornis, 1872

Col. Michael, Military Secretary to Government, with Bones of the Leg of the Australian Dinornis, 1872. The giant moa (Dinornis) is an extinct genus of ratite birds belonging to the moa family. Like all ratites it was a member of the order Struthioniformes. The Struthioniformes are flightless birds with a sternum without a keel. They also have a distinctive palate. It was endemic to New Zealand. Dinornis may have been the tallest bird that ever lived, with the females of the largest species standing 12 feet.This animal appeared during Cenozoic era, the most recent era of geologic time, from about 65 million years ago to the present. The Cenozoic Era is characterized by the formation of modern continents and the diversification of mammals and plants. Grasses also evolved during the Cenozoic. The climate was warm and tropical toward the beginning of the era and cooled significantly in the second half, leading to several ice ages. Humans first appeared near the end of this era.

Science Source / New York Public Library

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