The rat's tale

Pat Shipman

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


The archaeology of Remote Oceania is a perfect example of document discovery. The deforestation of Rapa Nui has become an icon of human folly and ecocide, despite recent challenges to this idea. Prior to human-arrival, bats were the only indigenous mammals on New Zealand or the other islands of Remote Oceania. The kiore arrived in Polynesia with humans as a highly successful stowaway, like the Norwegian rat more familiar to Europeans and Americans. The remains of at-least 6,000 moas show how skillful and systematic the moa-hunters were. Urged to look for evidence on South Island, Wilmshurst added Anderson and avian paleontologist Trevor Worthy from the University of Adelaide to her team for a three-year project that used a two-prong approach. The 48 gnawed-seeds they dated were all more recent than A.D. 1250. Another 48 intact or bird-broken seeds ranged in age from about 2000 B.C. to about A.D. 1800.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages3
Specialist publicationAmerican Scientist
StatePublished - Nov 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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