Got New Zealand on my brain today. And what do I discover on Yahoo? Lost giant: Why did the moa become extinct? Short answer: Because they tasted good.
Moa were gigantic birds that lived in New Zealand until the arrival of humans 700 years ago. Relatives of the ostrich and the emu, 11 species of moa lived in forested areas throughout the north and south islands. The generally accepted story is that the early Maori found the large moa easy to hunt (and quite tasty) and drove the species to extinction. This article suggests that the moa populations were in serious decline by the time humans arrived in Aotearoa. But humans still ate the last of them.
Reminds me of this show Northern Exposure which played on CBS in the early nineties. I remember one episode that the uptight doctor discovered a mammoth carcass in a melting glacier face, only to be dismayed when his neighbors carve up the beast and barbecue him. Why would they destroy such a valuable scientific discovery? Because mammoth tastes good.
I wonder if moa tastes like turkey?