Account of a Cave in which Recent Moa Remains were found.
5. Dr. Hector read a letter from Dr. Thomson, of Clyde, giving the account of his exploration of the cave in which the Moa's neck was found some months ago.* It is an irregular fissure in mica schist rock, about 50 feet in depth, with three shelf-like ledges or floors, on which the bones have lodged. There are two entrances—one on the hill side, and another by a funnel-shaped depres-
[Footnote] * Incorporated with Art. IV. Trans., p. III.
sion in an alluvial flat. On the first or upper floor were found traces of a fire and charred bones. On the second, by scraping away the loose dust to the depth of two feet, leg bones, ribs, vertebræ, a pelvis, toe bones, tracheal rings, and pieces of skin and muscle were found. At the lowest level were found fragments of egg-shell and the bones of a bird with a keeled sternum. Dr. Thomson has obtained bones of at least eight birds, and a perfect skull with lower jaw and trachea attached, and a femur, with well preserved muscular tissue, was also obtained at the spot where the neck was formerly found. The position of the cave is opposite Alexandra, at the foot of the Obelisk ranges. From another locality in the same district Dr. Thomson also sent twenty feathers of the Moa that were obtained by a digger 18 feet below the surface in recent alluvium.
6. “On some Moa Feathers,” by Captain F. W. Hutton, F.G.S. (See Transactions, p. 172.) The author said that, while these feathers had the form peculiar to Struthious birds, they were quite different to those of any known species, and that they showed that the bird to which they belonged was allied more to the American Rhea than to any of the Struthious birds of the old world.
In the course of the discussion which followed, the President, and also the Hon. Mr. Mantell, alluded to the injustice that had been done to the late Mr. Rule, of Nelson, who took the first Moa bone to Professor Owen, and who had been represented in some quarters as being an illiterate seaman, ignorant of such matters, whereas he was an educated medical man, who was perfectly aware that the bone was that of a bird when he took it to England.