A rare moa bone has been found in South Canterbury's Ruataniwha Conservation Park.
The well-preserved pelvis of the upland moa was found by Department of Conservation rangers under an overhang in a tributary to the Hopkins River. Its position protected it from strong winds and high rainfall.
The upland moa was one of the smallest of the moa species. It lived in higher, cooler parts of the country and was one of the last moa species to become extinct - around 500 years ago.
Canterbury Museum curator of vertebrate zoology Paul Scofield said upland moa bones were rarely found because of the absence of limestone caves in the area.
Dr Scofield said a study of coprolites, dung fossils, around the site would be made to find out about the species' diet. - NZPA