Posts categorized as Fossils

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 »

Fossils uncovered!

Normally fossils are found in the field but in this case Te Papa technicians and I have been rediscovering an early accumulation of fossil reptiles and fish held in Te Papa’s collections that have not been examined for decades. When the Colonial Museum opened in 1865, the Director James Hector, wanted to show New Zealanders… Read more »

Dinosaurs in time for Christmas!

  • Unusual packing material for dinosaurs
  • Dinosaur model and worried staff member with unusual packing material
  • Meeting a dinosaur in the workshop.
  • Meeting a dinosaur in the workshop.

I was walking along the corridor at the back of Te Papa the other day and spotted these boxes…. You see some quite strange things out the back of Te Papa (it could be a blog all of its own “Out  back Te Papa” ) but this was one of the better ones. Further investigation revealed… Read more »

Tales from Te Papa: Iguanodon tooth

The Country of the Iguanodon, 1837 by John Martin (1789–1854), watercolour. Gift of Mrs Mantell-Harding, 1961. Image © Te Papa.

In 1825, Gideon Mantell described fossil teeth and bones from a quarry near Cuckfield in Sussex, England. He named these remains ‘Iguanodon’ meaning ‘having teeth like those of an Iguana’ (a lizard), but he correctly determined that they were quite unlike the teeth of any known lizard or mammal. He is credited with being the… Read more »

New Zealand’s dinosaur expert passes away

  • Dinosaur toe bone found by Joan Wiffen
  • Dinosaur toe bone found by Joan Wiffen
  • Dinosaur toe bone found by Joan Wiffen
  • Dinosaur toe bone, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tonagarewa

Joan Wiffen, who found hard evidence that dinosaurs had inhabited New Zealand, died this month aged 87. I’m not a scientist, but I do have an interest in the history of science, and even I can see that Wiffen made historically significant and far-reaching contributions to scientific thinking. First findings In 1975, Wiffen found something remarkable in a remote stream… Read more »

The deluge and the ark

Curator of Fossil Vertebrates, Alan Tennyson, excavating the St Bathans site in Otago. Image copyright Te Papa

Recently, a group of researchers in New Zealand suggested that the absence of fossils between 25 and 22 million years ago indicated that the islands completely disappeared under water, and then later re-emerged. But a newly discovered fossil reptile suggests this theory does not hold water. Alan Tennyson, Curator of Fossil Vertebrates at Te Papa,… Read more »