Tagged: New Zealand

From the smallest of bones come the biggest of secrets - Lost Worlds, Vanished Lives

Nic Rawlence Apr 04, 2022

Ask any museum curator if you could destroy the only known bone of a diminutive extinct animal for genetic research, and the answer, once the curator had regained their composure…well, I’ll leave that one to your imagination. Walk into the behind-the-scenes collection at any museum in Aotearoa New Zealand and you’re immediately drawn to the big things, whether that’s … Read More

The long night: how the Ice Age drove blue-eyed shag evolution - Lost Worlds, Vanished Lives

Nic Rawlence Mar 28, 2022

The first snow had started to settle on the bare ground. Soon the shag will have to make a choice. Should it stay to battle the elements and potentially face death during the long night, or attempt a perilous journey to find a new home? By the time sea-ice surrounds its craggy island, creeping up from the south like an … Read More

Something old, something new: meet St Bathans newest fossil duck - Lost Worlds, Vanished Lives

Nic Rawlence Mar 10, 2022

“Alan, Alan, Alan, we have a big one”. And sure enough, in front of the kids and me was the brown outline of a bone that hadn’t seen the light of day for millions of years. It’s big country out here. And baking hot, even this early in the morning. Driving out of Alexandra up the Manuherikia Valley the views … Read More

COVID-19: the B.1.1.529 variant – what do we know? - Code for life

Grant Jacobs Nov 26, 2021

There’s a lot of news about a new variant originally reported in southern Africa. Early signs have prompted calls for immediate precautionary blocks on travel from the region to restrict its spread. The WHO has called an emergency conference on this variant. Here’s a round-up of what we know so far. If you’re in a hurry, and want to know … Read More

The little frog with a big legacy - Lost Worlds, Vanished Lives

Nic Rawlence Nov 11, 2021

In the bowels of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, the little frog waited. In 2005 scientists had released its bones from its sediment tomb on the banks of the Waipara River in North Canterbury. The discoverers – Bruce Marshall, Phil Maxwell, and Al Mannering – had carefully collected the tiny bones that remained and deposited them in … Read More

Resolving a genetic mash-up: reconstructing an accurate evolutionary history of kākāriki - Lost Worlds, Vanished Lives

Nic Rawlence Sep 10, 2021

Prioritising species conservation and over-stretched government funding is built upon an accurate understanding of evolutionary relationships and taxonomy. But what if that evolutionary history is wrong? More importantly, what are the consequences for endangered biodiversity as conservation funding and resources are re-assigned? Numerous examples have come to light in recent years where genetic techniques have shown previously recognised endangered or … Read More

COVID-19 Helping people check locations of interest - Code for life

Grant Jacobs Aug 27, 2021

OPINION. It’s important locate as many people who have been at locations of interest as possible in New Zealand’s Delta variant outbreak. Because few people have been scanning QR codes or keeping other personal records we’re relying on people to check the Ministry of Health’s list of locations of interest. A few initiatives might help this. People who’ve been at … Read More

Out of the fire and into a mad world: How human arrival in New Zealand resulted in a flightless insect - Lost Worlds, Vanished Lives

Nic Rawlence Aug 22, 2021

When most people think of the consequences of humans arriving on an isolated island paradise, it wouldn’t be making an insect flightless. Most people would think about the rapid extinction of biodiversity and environmental modification that inevitably follows human arrival. In Aotearoa New Zealand this includes the sad loss of the giant megafaunal moa, pouakai Haast’s eagle, and … Read More

Goldilocks and the three futures - Ariadne

Robert Hickson Jun 20, 2021

Goldilocks, the house breaker, always had a choice of three, one of which always appeared to be just right. Temporally, there’s three types of futures too. Short-term, medium-term, and long-term. Those are all relative, depending on what you are looking at. Some technologies, for example, change very quickly, so “long-term” may be less than a decade. In … Read More