Reappraisal of Dinornis (Aves Dinornithiformes) species: — a morphometric analysis

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Examination of Dinornis crania revealed three forms distinguishable by their shape, in particular, by the combination of the characters: temporal width — postorbital width ratio, presence or absence of tuberosities laterad of the occipital crest, relative development of the mamillar tuberosities, shape of the basisphenoid plate, shape of the occipital condyle, and shape of the pterygoid. Statistical analyses of cranial measurements corroborated the separation of these cranial forms. The species to which the three forms are referred are D. struthoides (smallest), D. novaezealandiae (medium sized), and D. giganteus (largest). Statistical analyses of datasets (length and width measurements of femora, tibiotarsi, and tarsometatarsi individually associated with the crania) indicate that leg-bones are also attributable to one of the three species on the basis of measurements. While leg bones of the three species differ primarily in length, those of D. novaezealandiae, especially the tibiotarsi, are relatively stouter than those of the other two species. The type tarsometatarsus of D. struthoides, and type tibiotarsus of D. novaezealandiae, are recognised to be rather atypical specimens.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-134
Number of pages22
JournalNew Zealand Journal of Zoology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • Dinornis
  • Moas
  • Morphometries
  • Redescription


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