Posts categorized as Fossils

Colossal New Addition to Te Papa’s Scientific Collections

  • Storage11
  • Powder Coated Cabinet
  • Jar and pail storage at Te Papa's collections facility. Photo: Rick Webber, Copyright Te Papa.
  • jars

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 »

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 »

Tell our scientists which coastal creatures you’d like to know more about in Science Live: Coastal creatures. Email sciencelive@tepapa.govt.nz with your suggestions! Walking along many of the beaches in my native UK, I had my head down, ignoring the beautiful view and the pounding waves of the slate grey sea. Instead, I’d be scanning the rocks for fossils,… Read more »

Science Live: Whalebirds – the mystery of the storm riders. Part 8. Prion evolution

  • Fossil bones of fairy prions are abundant in some South Island West Coast caves showing that the species nested there in huge numbers before humans brought rats to New Zealand.  Photo: Te Papa collections, Alan Tennyson
  • Alan Tennyson with a South Island Giant Moa leg bone. Photo © JC Stahl
  • The evolutionary history of prions is poorly understood but prions have been riding the winds of the southern oceans for at least the last 4 million years.  Photo: Fairy Prion, Philip Griffin, NZ Birds Online
  • The blue petrel is a close relative of prions but unlike prions it has a long narrow beak and a white, rather than black tip to its tail.  Photo: South Atlantic, David Boyle, NZ Birds Online

Here is the final instalment in our series of blogs all about prion biology! This is in preparation for our upcoming Science Live event on Oct 22nd (today!) at 1:50 pm NZ time when you can accompany us into the lab via live streaming (a permanent link to the YouTube video can be found below).  For… Read more »

Behind the scenes: A week in the life of a natural history curator

  • A wing being prepared by Catherine for incorporation into the collection.
  • Alan with a shearwater skeleton prepared by Catherine.
  • Alan looking through Te Papa's prion skin collection.
  • Alan and Trish looking at birds eggs in Te Papa's collection. Te Papa has recently improved their storage method of these fragile items.

What does a Te Papa curator do? I spent last week following Te Papa’s terrestrial vertebrate curator Alan Tennyson to find out. Here are some of the main highlights:  Visitors Monday saw Alan meet with Trish Nugent-Lyne, a collection manager at Whanganui Regional Museum. Te Papa staff are helping Trish prepare an articulated dog skeleton… Read more »

DNA finds kiwi’s origins: Introducing Stewie

Articulated kiwi skeleton from Te Papa's collection. Photo by Lara Shepherd.

A number of biological specimens in Te Papa’s collection, particularly old specimens, lack information about when and where they were collected. This information may have been lost since the specimen was collected or was simply not recorded at the time. However, all is not lost! Sometimes we can use DNA to determine where a specimen… Read more »

Te Papa researcher’s major contribution to NZ biodiversity inventory

Te Papa taxonomists whos work was instrumental in describing over 80% of the animal groups for New Zealand

Te Papa scientists figure prominently among the 238 researchers who have contributed to a major new publication: The Inventory of New Zealand Biodiversity.  The third and final volume of this 12-year project was launched at Te Papa yesterday, and celebrated the work of scientists from 19 countries, cataloguing over 56,000 species. The work was brought… Read more »

Animal and plant collections

Te Papa’s Natural Environment team have revamped their webpages. You can access them here. Collection highlights online include: Big fish Medicinal ferns of the second Maori king Unique bird eggs and skeletons Colossal squid Plants collected during Captain Cook’s first expedition GV Hudson insect collection Nests of extinct birds The following links will take you… Read more »

Fieldtrip to Patea

  • Bruce and Simon checking out the fossils in the Waverley Shellbed, north of the settlement at Waverley Beach. The trunks of the fossil trees from the drowned forest can be seen in the distance (Kristelle, 5/12/2010)
  • Bruce at the Waverley Shellbed
  • Bruce Marshall
  • Patea Field Collection Decembe3r 4 and 5

Last weekend, 4 and 5 December,  Bruce Marshall (Te Papa’s resident malacologist and Collection Manager Mollusca) and Simon Whittaker (Manager, Te Papa Collections) visited Kristelle Plimmer (Curator, Aotea Utanganui – Museum of South Taranaki) in Patea, and the three of them collected minute land snails (24 species found) and specimens of a minute freshwater snail… Read more »