Posts categorized as Conservation

How to deal with human DNA contamination of your DNA sequencing: an example from a Malawian dance garment.

Dance garment, c. 1900, Malawi (Chewa culture), Photograph by Kate Whitley. Copyright Te Papa MA_I.374711

You’ve probably seen forensic scientists on TV taking swabs and fingerprints from crime scenes. They aren’t wearing labcoats, hairnets and gloves to look cool but to prevent them contaminating their forensic evidence with their own DNA. But how do scientists deal with items that are already contaminated with unwanted human DNA? I recently encountered this… Read more »

A glimpse of ancient Mauritius: Ile aux Aigrettes, restoration island

  • White-tailed tropicbird chick being hand-fed, Ile aux Aigrettes. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Mauritius fodies: male (left) and female (right), Ile aux Aigrettes. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Pink pigeon, Ile aux Aigrettes. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Telfair's skink, Ile aux Aigrettes. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa

I first heard of Ile aux Aigrettes at a conference on island pest eradications held in Auckland in early 2001. A delegate from Mauritius spoke about a failed attempt to eradicate Indian musk shrews from the 25 ha island, which had already been cleared of feral cats and ship rats. The island next registered in… Read more »

Once were dodos

  • Dodo statue, Ile aux Aigrettes. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Mauritius kestrel. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • Pink pigeon. Image: Colin Miskelly, Te Papa
  • What am I

The dodo is the world’s most famous extinct bird. Its quirky appearance makes it instantly recognisable in popular culture, including in classics such as Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ and the animated short film ‘Ice Age’. One of the reasons it is so well known is that it is considered to be the first… Read more »

Very rare indeed: a Malawian dance garment

  • Hair fibers from each respective sampled area, GH024606; shown at 200x magnification. Image copyright Te Papa.
  • GH024606, detail of skins used to make the garment. Image copyright Te Papa.
  • Images of hair fibers removed from GH024606 showing exterior scale patterning and the structure of the interior. Images by A. Peranteau, copyright Te Papa.

Witchy tale In 1936, the Dominion Museum was given a gift so rare and strange that it made the news.  Described in the Auckland Star and in museum records as a “witch doctor’s outfit”, the garment was subsequently displayed for many years in the Buckle St building that opened that same year.   During an… Read more »

Native re-vegetation & weed collecting in Wellington’s greenbelt

Tim Park, Wellington City Council Biodiversity Officer. Standing next to some well established wharangi (Melicope ternata) plantings on Mount Victoria. Image: Antony Kusabs, Te Papa.

I recently tagged along with Wellington City Council’s Environment Partnership Leader, Tim Park to visit some native re-vegetation sites in Wellington’s town belt. Why is Wellington City planting native plants? Wellington City Council has a policy of replacing pine forest with native plantings in the town belt as pine trees die or are toppled by… Read more »

Tadpole Tangent – It’s a Bugs Life update from Kiwi Kids ECE

Researching tadpoles, Photographer: Kiwi Kids ECE, © Te Papa

In 2015, Te Papa is creating a teacher resource to support you to ‘do science’ in your own backyard/outdoor environments with young children. We have been collaborating with three Wellington region ECE centres in its development. In our project updates on this blog from Imagine Childcare and Raumati South Kindergarten, we have seen quite different approaches and journeys taken. It… Read more »

It’s a Bug’s Life Education Project – Update from Raumati South Kindergarten

Raumati8

In 2015, Te Papa is creating a science teacher resource to support you to ‘do science’ with young children in your own backyard environments – with a focus on the invertebrates who make these places home. One of the three ECE centres working with us on this project is Raumati South Kindergarten. After an initial visit from… Read more »

Ko te whānau o Matariki: Matariki Education Resource 2015 – Part 3

Orion and the Milky Way by jpstanley, https://www.flickr.com/photos/79297308@N00/16179230263

In Part 1 and Part 2 of this resource, we were introduced to Matariki and her six daughters – learning how each star plays her own special part in preparing the environments of Papatūānuku for the New Year. In this final section, we will be introducing three of Matariki’s cousins: Puanga/Puaka, Pūtātara and Hine-takurua. Papatūānuku has entrusted these whetū kanapa (bright stars)… Read more »

Ko te whānau o Matariki: Matariki Education Resource 2015 – Part 2

Matariki star cluster with star names. Photograph by Rebecca Browne. Te Papa

During the coldest time each year the Matariki star cluster comes rising up for the first time in the eastern sky. This occurrence marks the beginning of an important time of year – the Māori New Year. In this series of blogs, Te Papa Education hopes to introduce you to each of the seven members of this star whānau, from… Read more »