Story at a glance

  • In 1987, members of the New Zealand Speleological Society unearthed a giant claw belonging to a member of an extinct bird species.
  • There were several species of moas, with the biggest growing up to 12 feet tall.
  •  
  • The claw has been useful to researchers, as it has tissue intact.

In 1987, members of the New Zealand Speleological Society unearthed a giant claw that belonged to a member of an extinct bird while exploring the caves of Mount Owen. Now, the bone has been reshared with the public online, where it has caused a sensation.

Moas contained nine species that varied in size. While some moas were the size of a turkey or ostrich, others were much bigger, growing up to 12 feet tall and weighing about 510 pounds, Awesome Inventions reported.


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The birds became extinct approximately 700 to 800 years ago and were native to New Zealand.

The claw, which is estimated at more than 3,300 years old, has been valuable for researchers, as it has bones and tissue intact, giving opportunities to conduct studies.

The flesh-covered claw has resurfaced, and social media is buzzing, saying it looks like something out of science fiction.

Actor Mark Hamill commented on the bird claw on Twitter, joking that it looked like "a Rancor's hand," a reference to "Return of the Jedi," in which the character Luke Skywalker faced a hulking reptile-like alien.

Back in March, first-person shooter "Halo," a video game that features moas, had a cross-promotion with chip maker Pringles that developed a limited edition “moa burger,” GameSpot reported.




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Published on May 26, 2021