Tongue of a defrosted broad-billed prion.

Genetic research requires a small amount of tissue from animal or plant specimens to be destroyed in order to obtain DNA. Te Papa’s bird team recently pondered the best way to sample tissue for DNA whilst causing a minimal amount of damage to seabird specimens. In July 2011 a periodRead more

Te Papa curator Colin Miskelly checks out a giant ongaonga leaf. Photo credit: Lara Shepherd

Whilst recently chasing seabirds on Titi Island we came across tree nettles (ongaonga, Urtica ferox) with super-sized leaves. The largest leaf we measured was 28 cm long, much longer than the maximum leaf length of 18 cm given for this species in the Flora of New Zealand. Perhaps the abundantRead more

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 DNARead more

Leon and Lara in the Te Papa's collections. Photo Carlos Lehnebach.Te Papa

Museums are embracing technologies, such as DNA sequencing, to both enhance understanding of their collections and showcase scientific research to the public.  Many museums around the world now have molecular laboratories.  DNA sequencing has many useful applications for museum research; for example, it can be used to distinguish new species,Read more