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Monday, November 30, 2015

The Moa, The Thylacine, and The Dodo: Extinct - Or Not?

Some cryptids are creatures that we know existed. They are animals that are thought to be long gone - and yet people still report seeing them. This post is about three such animals - the moa, thylacine, and  the dodo, too.

A FILM OF A LIVE DODO BIRD - THAT TURNED OUT TO BE NOTHING OF THE SORT

Earlier this year, a video appeared online that supposedly showed a live dodo bird. The video made the rounds on many cryptozoology sites and blogs, including this one.

Was it really a live dodo bird? No. The video was only made to raise awareness for endangered animals. If someone wanted to do that, why didn't they make a video showing actual endangered animals, instead of one that's already extinct?

TASMANIAN TIGERS

The Thylacine, or Tasmanian Tiger, was one of the most amazing animals to ever live. It looked somewhat like a dog, had a stiff tail, and had stripes like a tiger's on its hindquarters. And, it was a marsupial - so it had a pouch, too. The last confirmed living thylacine died in a zoo in 1936, but there have been alleged sightings since then.
Old photo of a thylacine

Michael Moss is a thylacine hunter, and claims he caught one on video 15 years ago. Moss was quoted in a International Business Times (which, however, incorrectly states the official extinction year as 1986, not 1936) article earlier this year:

"There has already been a claimed sighting of one in Fisheries Rd, Devon Meadows, a few years ago.... Most reports to date have been of animals near or crossing roads... with the advent of dashboard cameras in cars, I think we will see some concrete evidence before much longer."

Perhaps the thylacine isn't extinct after all.

LIVING MOAS?

The dodo isn't the only bird I'm going to feature in this post…

Moas were giant birds that lived in New Zealand and which became extinct (officially) around 1300 AD. Their main cause of extinction was overhunting by the Maori people. There were many different species of the bird, some of which grew to great sizes.
The moa Megalapteryx didinus

Even though moas are (like the dodo and thylacine) officially extinct, some people in New Zealand claim to have seen them - alive - in recent years. In 1993, Paddy Freaney, Rochelle Rafferly, and Sam Waby claimed they saw one of the large birds by a river. Fearny took a picture of the thing, which was published in various journals. The photo is very blurry (what cryptid photo isn't!) and paleontologists who looked at it felt it showed a deer, not a giant moa.

Freany was not thought of as a publicity seeker by those who knew him. He was angered that people didn't believe him, and over the next few years went on expeditions to find moas, although he never did.  Maybe he really did photograph a moa? 
This photo, taken in 1993, supposedly
shows a moa

Below is a newspaper report of the trio's encounter with a moa:

"THREE hikers in New Zealand's high country claim to have seen a moa, a large, flightless bird believed to have become extinct nearly 500 years ago.
"The kickers say they chased the bird in remote South Island bushland, 50 miles west of Christchurch, last Wednesday.
"Mr Paddy Freaney, who owns a hotel in the area where he says he has seen and photograph the bird, said it had a thin, 3ft long neck and a small head and beak; its body, covered in reddy-brown and grey feathers, was about three feet above the ground.
"Mr Andy Grant, an officer with the Department of Protected Species, said it was possible that the bird was an emu, which is bred on farms in the area. Local farmers say, however, that none of their emus is missing.
"Mr Sam Waby, head of a school art department, and Miss Rochelle Rafferty, a gardener at Mr Freaney's hotel, said they saw the bird independently and at the same time as Mr Freaney.
"Wildlife experts are examining the photographs and a search is being organized. 'We are looking for feathers, droppings and any other clues,' said Mr Grant.
"Scientists, who have examined moa bones, believe they were hunted to extinction 500 years ago by Maoris, who arrived in New Zealand from Polynesia 1,000 years ago.
"Ms Beverly McCulloch, a moa expert at Canterbury  Museuem, doubted the claims. She said: 'The weight of scientific evidence is against it. The history of moa studies is littered with possible sightings, none of which has ever been proven, some of which were hoaxes and most of which were wishful thinking.
 "'That does not preclude someone sighting a live moa. Nobody would be happier than me for that to happen.'"
What do you think? Does Freaney's photo really show a moa? Or, is it just an emu? The subject is too far away and the photo is too blurry to be able to tell.


The dodo is extinct, and I believe that. But maybe, just maybe, there are a few thylacines and moas still out there.

Thylacine
 
 
 
 
 

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