That is, since the bird had not been seen in a while, it was assumed to be extinct. A fair assumption to make, but one difficult to prove concretely. This bird must have been born to other petrels, which means that they did exist all these years, but had not been seen.
A small seabird thought to be extinct – a New Zealand storm petrel (Oceanites maorianus) – flew inside his boat anchored off Little Barrier Island on Friday night.
Murman snatched a cardboard box and captured the bird so that it could be photographed and a sample of DNA taken.
"If the DNA matches up then we've got a bird that people had believed to be extinct for over 100 years," Griffiths said. "It's as significant as the rediscovery of the takahe."
Griffiths said it was a miracle the petrel had landed on a boat skippered by Murman, one of the few people who would have been able to recognise it.
Translated into Biblical archaeology terms, had a Biblical book been composed over the past 100 years, in which a petrel figured into the story, it would have been dismissed as anachronistic and plainly false, for petrels were already extinct by then.
Note, by the way, that petrels are possibly mentioned in Torah, as shachaf. In Vayikra 11:16,
|טז וְאֵת בַּת הַיַּעֲנָה, וְאֶת-הַתַּחְמָס וְאֶת-הַשָּׁחַף; וְאֶת-הַנֵּץ, לְמִינֵהוּ.||16 and the ostrich, and the night-hawk, and the sea-mew, and the hawk after its kinds;|
And the same in Devarim 14:15:
|טו וְאֵת בַּת הַיַּעֲנָה, וְאֶת-הַתַּחְמָס וְאֶת-הַשָּׁחַף; וְאֶת-הַנֵּץ, לְמִינֵהוּ.||15 and the ostrich, and the night-hawk, and the sea-mew, and the hawk after its kinds;|