Posts categorized as Birds

Elephant bird DNA reveals that the Kiwi is not an Aussie

Alan Cooper holds a giant elephant bird leg bone in front of a kiwi skeleton for media as Alan Tennyson looks on. Photo: Jean-Claude Stahl © Te Papa

A study published in the journal Science today reveals a new and unexpected origin for New Zealand’s iconic kiwi and overturns the previous idea that the ancestors of kiwi flew directly over from Australia (see Miocene fossils show that Kiwi are probably not phyletic dwarves, Paleornithological Research 2013, and St Bathan’s kiwi – NZ Birds Online). … Read more »

The Albatross in the Cupboard

Nina Powles is a graduate student of English Literature at Victoria University. She wrote this blog post for a course in Creative Science Writing at the International Institute of Modern Letters. She currently lives in Wellington. Photographer: Wen Powles © Wen Powles

Victoria University of Wellington’s International Institute of Modern Letters is justifiably famous.  One of its innovative creative writing courses goes by the intriguing acronym of  ‘CREW352’.  CREW352 is creative science writing. Recently, CREW352 student Nina Powles interviewed Dr Susan Waugh, Senior Curator of Sciences at Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Here is Nina’s… Read more »

Snares Islands – first impressions

  • Vegetation surrounding boat harbour. Snares Islands, North-East Island. Image: Antony Kusabs, Te Papa.
  • The brown skua (Catharacta antarctica) swooping our cameraman on Station Point. Snares Islands, North-East Island. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa.
  • Antony Kusabs, Collection Manaqger at the South Promontory sign post with Alert Stack and South-west promontory in background. Snares Islands, North East Isalnd. Image: Jean-Claude Stahl, Te Papa.
  • Titi () at dusk. Snares Islands, North East Island, Muttonbird Ridge. Image: Antony Kusabs, Te Papa.

A Te Papa team recently visited the Snares Islands Nature Reserve, 105 km south-southwest of Stewart Island, where they completed a range of seabird and plant research projects. Here, Antony Kusabs (Collection Manager Sciences) describes his first impressions of the Snares Islands, his first trip to a New Zealand Sub-Antarctic island group. Watch Science Live: Expedition Snares Islands… Read more »

Hugh Pollen (1851-1912) – the ultimate faceless bureaucrat?

Hugh Pollen was the influential head of New Zealand’s largest government department for 20 years – but what did he look like? Hugh was the son of medical doctor, civil servant and politician Daniel Pollen (1813-96), who was briefly (1875-76) Premier of New Zealand – i.e. the pre-1907 equivalent of Prime Minister. Hugh entered public… Read more »

Science Live: Expedition Snares Island for teachers

The rugged western cliffs of North-East Iland. Rising to over 120m - 06 Dec 2013. Photo Antony Kusabs, Te Papa.jpg

You may have seen on our blog that our next instalment of Science Live is happening on March 18. This episode will focus on Te Papa scientists’ recent trip to Snares Islands, about 200km south of Fiordland. Science Live is great way for teachers and students to learn about some of the important scientific work… Read more »

Life through a burrowscope lens (Part 4) – subterranean Ohinau Island

  • A fluttering shearwater chick inside its burrow on Ohinau-iti Island. Image: Robyn Blyth
  • A Mercury Island tusked weta inside a burrow on Ohinau Island. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • A fluttering shearwater egg in a burrow on a stack off Ohinau Island. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • A little penguin inside a burrow on Ohinau Island. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa

Te Papa vertebrate curator Dr Colin Miskelly recently spent 12 days on Ohinau Island (east of Whitianga, Coromandel Peninsula) as part of a Te Papa seabird research team. This blog reports on what the team found living underground on the island. As described in previous blogs in this series, a burrowscope is a high-tech tool… Read more »