By extracting DNA from mummified skin cells, researchers at the University of Adelaide have been able to craft what they feel is a good representation of coloration in the heavy footed moa, one variety of the long extinct flightless birds that once roamed New Zealand. By closely analyzing mitochondrial DNA, the research team has been able to attribute particular fossil feathers to specific breeds of moa.
Once the feathers have been attributed, researchers can use current examples of moa relatives like the kiwi and emu to make an educated reconstruction of the creatures plumage. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the moas feather patterns closely resemble those of the kiwi, camouflaging them from the predators that eventually wiped the species out. That is, of course, if you believe that moas are really extinct.
Any other month, recreating the plumage of an extinct flightless bird would be the most interesting news from the Antipodes. But the fact that Autralian wallabies are getting high by eating poppies and then hopping around in circles until they fall over really takes the cake. Frankly, you cannot compete with any piece of news that involves stoned wallabies.