First coprolite evidence for the diet of Anomalopteryx didiformis, an extinct forest ratite from New Zealand

Jamie Wood, Janet Wilmshurst, Trevor H. Worthy, Alan Cooper

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    18 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Evidence of diet has been reported for all genera of extinct New Zealand moa (Aves: Dinornithiformes), using preserved gizzard content and coprolites, except the forest-dwelling Anomalopteryx. Skeletal features of the little bush moa (Anomalopteryx didiformis) have led to competing suggestions that it may have either browsed trees and shrubs or grubbed for fern rhizomes. Here, we analyse pollen assemblages from two coprolites, identified by ancient DNA analysis as having been deposited by Anomalopteryx didiformis. The pollen results, together with identified fragments of leaf cuticles from the coprolites, support the hypothesis that Anomalopteryx didiformis browsed trees and shrubs in the forest understorey.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)164-170
    Number of pages7
    JournalNew Zealand Journal of Ecology
    Volume36
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

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