Charles Darwin was unimpressed with the south coast of Western Australia when he visited in March 1836 calling it ‘dull and uninteresting’. If, however, he had visited during the spring wildflower season its likely he would have come to the opposite conclusion. These days botanically-inclined tourists, such as myself, flock to southwestern Australia during wildflower season…. Read more »

William Gemmell: WWI amputee postively identified

Te Papa holds 28 sepia-toned photographs taken of New Zealand servicemen who were wounded during World War I. None of the men in these photographs are identified. However, thanks to Julie Gemmell of Waikouaiti, we now know that one of the men in two of these photos is William Clement Gemmell, Julie’s grandfather. In the photograph above,… Read more »

Over 380,000 viewers tuned in over the past 24 hours to watch the examination of our most recent colossal squid. If you missed it, you can still watch it on YouTube here: Watch Te Papa’s colossal squid examination What did scientists find? Digested stomach contents and jelly-filled eyes might not sound exciting, but scientists were… Read more »

Doodia rasp ferns become Blechnum hard ferns

  • Blechnum neglectum, previously Pteridoblechnum neglectum, found only in north-eastern Australia. Right: Blechnum diversifolium, from New Caledonia. Blechnum diversifolium is more closely related to the species previously placed in Pteridoblechnum than it is to most species of Blechnum. Photos Leon Perrie. Composite © Te Papa.
  • Blechnaceae ferns are common in several parts of the world. For instance, all New Zealanders will be familiar with kiokio and its relatives in the genus Blechnum, colloquially known as “hard ferns” because of their coriaceous fronds.  Kiokio (Blechnum novae-zelandiae) is a common sight on road cuttings, amongst other habitats, and occurs throughout the country. Photo Leon Perrie. © Te Papa.
  • Left: rasp fern, Blechnum parrisiae, previously called Doodia australis, occurs in both Australia and New Zealand. Right: Blechnum gibbum, from New Caledonia. Blechnum gibbum is more closely related to the species formerly placed in Doodia than it is to most species of Blechnum. Photos Leon Perrie. Composite © Te Papa.
  • Blechnum orientale, in Fiji. Most species of Blechnum in New Zealand are “dimorphic”, with obviously different fertile and sterile fronds. (The exception is Blechnum fraseri, which is only partially dimorphic.) However, many overseas Blechnum are “monomorphic” like Blechnum orientale, which is widespread in the tropics from Asia through Australia to the Pacific.  Photo Leon Perrie. (c) Te Papa.

A key principle in the scientific classification of animals, plants, and other living things is that the system of scientific names reflects their relationships. This is because there is only a single evolutionary history, and it provides an objective basis by which to name life. As we learn more about these evolutionary relationships, scientific names… Read more »

Colossal New Addition to Te Papa’s Scientific Collections

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  • Jar and pail storage at Te Papa's collections facility. Photo: Rick Webber, Copyright Te Papa.
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Today we’ve been hearing about the most recent addition to Te Papa’s scientific collections, a new colossal squid Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni. We’re playing host to a dozen or so media representatives as well as our own live-streaming film crew, who are following intently the activity of five visiting squid scientists from AUT, led by Dr Kat… Read more »

Our scientists are readying themselves for a day of examining the colossal squid, preparing for the unexpected – and letting you all in on how they research such a rare, huge animal. Watch the live stream below, from 11am NZST. Our host will be Veronika Meduna from Radio New Zealand’s Our Changing World: Schedule Throughout… Read more »

It takes a forklift, a hosepipe and several dedicated scientists to get the colossal squid from the freezer to the tank. Scientists from Te Papa and Auckland University of Technology have assembled at Te Papa to begin defrosting the colossal squid. As the squid is such a large animal, it’s anticipated that it will take… Read more »

The fascination of squid

Aaron visiting the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California. The squid in the tank behind him are big-fin reef squid. And that is an octopus on his t-shirt. As Aaron explains ‘…my passion for cephalopods is prominent in my attire as well as my household belongings.’ © Aaron Boyd Evans

On Tuesday 16th September Te Papa will be hosting a very special event. A colossal squid, recently caught in the Ross Sea, will be examined by scientists and you can watch as we live stream the action on YouTube from 11am. Our presenter will be Veronika Meduna, from Radio New Zealand’s Our Changing World. Squid scientists… Read more »

Scotty the T.rex goes on holiday!

Scotty T.rex

Have you heard the roars yet? We’ve had an overwhelming response to our visiting T.rex puppet Scotty!   We are really lucky that Scotty has been able to visit us to help promote our forthcoming exhibition, Tyrannosaurs – Meet the Family, which opens at Te Papa on September 27! We’re hoping that many of you… Read more »

Colossal squid – the body parts

Colossal squid beak. Photographer: Jean-Claude Stahl © Te Papa

Colossal squid are the heaviest invertebrates on Earth, with specimens reported weighing in at 495kg – that’s nearly eight times as heavy as the average human! Despite their size, large colossal squid specimens in good condition are rarely available to scientists. That’s why scientists from Auckland University of Technology (AUT) are excited to undertake research… Read more »