Science Media Centre

Science Media Centre

Expert Reactions

When did sweet potatoes arrive in the Pacific – Expert reaction

Sarah-Jane O'Connor posted in on April 13th, 2018.

New research has cast doubt on the theory that the presence of sweet potatoes in Polynesia indicates early contact with South America, but New Zealand experts aren’t convinced. Using genetic evidence, the researchers suggest sweet potatoes are at least 800,000 years old, far older than even early humans, and say the plants dispersed naturally around […]

Finding and losing new bird species with ancient DNA — In The News

Tessa Evans posted in on August 17th, 2017.

Ancient DNA has shed light on two extinct species this week, resulting in New Zealand claiming a new shag and Australia losing a penguin. New Zealand continues to gain new extinct bird species with the addition of the kōhatu shag, whose bones were previously thought to belong to the king shag. Writing on Sciblods, lead […]

Extinct sea lion discovered, raises by-catch concern – In the News

Sarah-Jane O'Connor posted in on July 12th, 2016.

The discovery of an extinct sea lion from the Chatham Islands has researchers concerned that modern levels of by-catch could drive the remaining local species extinct. University of Otago scientists identified the extinct Chatham Island sea lion and found it was genetically distinct from the modern population that lives in the Auckland and Campbell Islands […]

Little penguins recent Aussie invaders – In the News

John Kerr posted in on February 5th, 2016.

The little penguin species (popularly known as little blue penguins) found in southern New Zealand is a surprisingly recent invader from Australia, according to a new study led by University of Otago researchers. The research, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, analysed ancient DNA from the remains of over one hundred […]

Dom Post: Kiwi helps to resurrect woolly mammoth blood

Peter Griffin posted in on May 5th, 2010.

Kiran Chug writes in the Dominion Post about Wellingtonian Alan Cooper and his involvement in scientists’ recently announced ability to reconstruct the blood of woolly mammoths. The technique could potentially be used to recreate the blood cells of other extinct animals. An excerpt: (read in full here) “Woolly mammoths are believed to have died out […]

The Press: Moa DNA gives up some secrets

Peter Griffin posted in on March 11th, 2010.

Paul Gorman reports in The Press on the first successful isolation of DNA from ancient eggshell fossils by an international team including researchers from the University of Otago. The eggshell fragments include those from moa, and it is hoped they will enable reserachers to better understand the history, and demise, of the birds. An excerpt: […]

Penguin bones reveal long-lost species

Dacia Herbulock posted in on November 19th, 2008.

The hoiho or yellow-eyed penguin, one of our most charismatic native species, was a stranger to New Zealand until just a few hundred years ago, according to research out today from the University of Otago. A newly-discovered penguin species, called the Waitaha penguin, once occupied the yellow-eyed’s range and was forced into extinction by human […]

Copyright 2018 Science Media Centre (New Zealand)

Disclaimer | Privacy Policy