Lost Worlds, Vanished Lives

What’s in a name: the importance of naming biodiversity

Nic Rawlence Sep 26, 2017

‘What’s in a name? that which we call a rose. By any other word would smell as sweet’ wrote the bard when he penned Romeo and Juliet. Names are important. They evoke emotions, power, a sense of pride and ownership. Names can transcend language barriers and allow global communication of science. Naming biodiversity is no different. Recently I gave a … Read More

1

Ancient DNA giveth and ancient DNA taketh away: The penguin that never was

Nic Rawlence Aug 18, 2017

Dr Nic Rawlence & Tess Cole, University of Otago Australian politics is mired in a duel-citizenship scandal. Certain politicians have discovered that they are in fact part kiwi and accusations of interference in Australian politics are flying. This trans-Tasman identity shock, however, is not unique to Australian politicians. Now new ancient DNA research has surprisingly shown it’s also found … Read More

Hiding in plain sight: how we found New Zealand’s newest seabird, the Kōhatu Shag

Nic Rawlence Aug 14, 2017

New Zealand was once a land of birds. A bustling and cosmopolitan metropolis of different species that had evolved in isolation until the arrival of humans. Scientists thought we knew the characters that made up this enigmatic ecosystem of a time long past, but we were wrong. Hiding in plain sight, in fossil deposits throughout Northland, and natural history … Read More

Introducing the Poūwa: New Zealand’s unique and ill-fated black swan 

Nic Rawlence Jul 26, 2017

Step inside a TARDIS and travel to prehistoric New Zealand and the landscape looked very different. Moa roamed the forests, Haast’s Eagle soared in the sky and you would have met a very tall, heavy and potentially grumpy swan. This is the Poūwa – New Zealand’s newest species discovered by my team (published today in Proceedings B) including collaborators from the Otago Palaeogenetics Laboratory (University of Otago), Canterbury Museum and the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa … Read More