NEW ZEALAND

Around the World September 1, 2011

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NEW ZEALAND: Nineteenth-century Maori history is written in the DNA of long-dead kiwi birds. Prized cloaks of kiwi feathers were worn into battle. The genetic material preserved in more than 100 cloaks in museum collections, alongside DNA from modern birds, has identified the small area where the cloak tradition may have arisen, and suggests that a previously undocumented trade in feathers grew after internecine wars broke up traditional groups in the early part of the century.

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