Above you see the tongue of the baby pygmy right whale. Whales lips aren’t flexible enough to form a suction around the mother’s nipple like human babies do. To latch on to the mother’s nipple, a baby whale curls its tongue. A good suction is assisted by the flaps onRead more

We just found the ovaries – the specimen is a girl! Here’s an image from the microscope video (x150) – showing a bunch of eggs….the ovaries are full of several thousands of eggs!Read more

My name is Prof. Eric Warrant from the University of Lund in Sweden (blonde hair, blue glasses), and I am here together with Prof. Dan Nilsson (also from Lund) to study the gigantic eyes of the colossal squid. These are truly amazing eyes – in the collapsed state we seeRead more

  As the specimen is still folded in a block we are using an underwater camera to determine how the specimen is positioned. The camera revealed the eye! The eye is HUGE! The lens alone is 50 mm across, but we won’t be able to get an exact measurement untilRead more

The hooks seem to grab everyone’s attention (pun intended). Other squid families have hooks on the arms, or the tentacles, or both, but the colossal squid is the only hooked squid in its family (the Cranchiidae, about 20 species). It possesses hooks on each of the eight arms, and alsoRead more

You may have seen us removing and examining the beaks of the giant and smaller colossal squids yesterday, so we thought we’d give some background on cephalopod beaks and why they’re important. The beaks (one upper and one lower in all squid, octopus and their relatives) are the first stageRead more

The colossal squid – first described in the early 20th century – is known from about 11 specimens, of which only three or four are intact: most are fragments of arms or branchial crowns recovered from sperm whale stomachs. Te Papa, the Museum of New Zealand, has one complete subadultRead more

Mark Fenwick and Kat Bolstad are in the tank carefully cutting the landing net away from the thawing squid. Fortunately the squid is still partially frozen and is floating, which makes the task much easier. The beak of the colossal squid has been exposed as the flesh thaws. Preliminary measurementRead more

Preparations for the colossal squid thaw are well underway, with construction of a temporary tank with a capacity to hold 10,000 litres of preservative. The tank is being built by Te Papa’s building services team and is 6.5 m long by 2 m wide. The logistics for moving the frozenRead more

Not all war memorials are monumental or made from marble. While I was reading Ann Beaglehole’s Eastbourne: A History of the Eastern Bays of Wellington Harbour, I discovered details of trees planted by the community to remember World War One (WWI) and those who lost their lives. In July 1916Read more

One of the topics we’ll be exploring in the upcoming 20th Century History exhibition will be the impact of First World War deaths on New Zealand society. More than 18,000 New Zealand soldiers died overseas during the war, but very few of their bodies came back, so the way inRead more