Building a moa

Massey digital gallery

In collaboration with Auckland War Memorial Museum, we have built a digital skeleton of a little bush moa (Anomalopteryx didiformis). This has been accomplished by 3D scanning individual bones and then arranging them into a skeleton. We invite you to explore this skeleton here, or your can download the completed skeleton from


Description from New Zealand Birds Online:

"...The little bush moa was the smallest and most widespread moa species, occurring in forests throughout the North and South Islands. Slender with relatively long legs, it inhabited dense forest and shrubland. Its relatively short, sharp-edged bill appears to have been more suited to cutting than those of other moa species..."








Why did we build a moa skeleton? Moa were amazing animals and we want to help share their story. Here you can explore the 3D digital skeleton as you imagine these amazing animals walking around the New Zealand bush.


Just as importantly, we will use the scanned moa bones to teach the next generation of scientists about lost New Zealand animals. Look out for these bones in two papers at Massey University: 199.212 Vertebrate Zoology and 199.330 Ornithology.

The little bush moa (Anomalopteryx didiformis) from 'On Dinornis: containing a description of the skeleton of Dinornis parvus' by Richard Owen (Transactions of the Zoological Society of London, volume 11, 1880).