Scientists from Massey University are disputing the hypothesis that New Zealand’s flora and fauna have evolved without much external influence since the breakup of Gondwana some 80 million years ago.
Looking at the genetics of some of New Zealand’s birds, including the moa, Haast eagle (both extinct) and some kiwi populations, they say that New Zealand’s birdlife has seen genetic influences from South America, Australia and other regions.
An excerpt: (read in full here)
“The Moa’s Ark theory of relic species which underwent ancient and slow changes over long periods of time on a continuous outcrop of land competes with the idea that all of New Zealand’s modern plant and animal species came from dispersal, spreading here across the sea after land re-appeared on the surface during the past 20 million years.
“Because sea levels rose dramatically between 34 million years and 23 million years ago, some scientists have argued the land that is now New Zealand suffered a great drowning, and they point to a lack of land-based fossils from the period.”