Posts categorized as Research

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 »

Māori at Gallipoli – TedX talk “Forgotten grandfathers: Maori men of WW1″

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Kia ora koutou Last month I gave a talk at a TedX conference in Tauranga where I discussed some of the research I’ve undertaken as part of our exhibition development project here for an exhibition about Gallipoli (due to open April next year at Te Papa). I’ve been very busy assembling potential Māori content for that… Read more »

Delving into the household accounts of James Hector

  • Mrs Hector paid a Mrs Fahy to do her laundry. Photo: Simon Nathan.
  • Bundles of James Hector's bills are held in Te Papa's archive. Photo: Simon Nathan.
  • A tally of purchases from I & H Barber - Butchers.
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Dr Simon Nathan is an Honorary Research Associate at Te Papa. During his research towards a biography on James Hector, the founder of the Colonial Museum, he has delved into the household accounts of the Hector family, which are held in Te Papa’s Archive. In this guest blog post, he shares some of his findings on the the lifestyle of a… Read more »

Are wingless fliers Nature’s best hitchhikers?

Left: A louse-fly carries a hitchhiking louse from a Japanese crow, attached to one of the fly’s abdominal hairs. Right: detail of same louse. Photos by Rokuro Kano, Tokyo, Japan. © Rokuro Kano

by Ricardo L. Palma, Curator of Terrestrial Invertebrates Evolving without wings, humans dreamed about flying for thousands of years… but only just over 100 years ago they invented a heavier-than-air machine which could fly and take them to the skies. However, long long ago, natural evolution had already provided the opportunity to fly to creatures… Read more »

Tschüss, Deutschland!

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That is the informal way of saying “Goodbye, Germany!” in German. My time as Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellow in Oldenburg has now come to an end, and I wanted to share a few reflections on my experiences in Germany. The last several months of the fellowship were a flurry of activity on all fronts…. Read more »

Alien Power Source Discovered by NZ Photographer?

Cosmo Flying disk IV

If you watched late night television towards the end of the 1960s you might remember the following theatrically pronounced lines: For [architect David Vincent] it began one lost night on a lonely country road, looking for a shortcut that he never found. It began with a closed deserted diner, and a man too long without… Read more »

My spidey sense is tingling

The spider in question. Happily sunning itself on my curtain. © Te Papa

When you find an ‘odd’ looking spider on your curtain, what is your normal response? Hopefully it’s not to kill it! Maybe it’s to catch it and it and take outside? Or maybe more of a Paul McCartney approach and let it be. Well I was faced with that decision last weekend and took a different… Read more »