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Fossil find uncovers possible hobbit ancestor – In the news

John Kerr posted in on June 9th, 2016.

Fossilised remains of small-bodied hominins found on the Indonesian island of Flores have been dated to around 700,000 years old and are believed to be the ancestors of the mysterious and diminutive Homo floresiensis – AKA the hobbit. Two papers published today in the journal Nature describe and date the remains as well as animal […]

When did the last moa die?

John Kerr posted in on October 24th, 2014.

It is hard to know exactly when the last of New Zealand’s iconic giant birds kicked the proverbial bucket, but new research has come up with the most accurate guess to date.  Moa likely became extinct sometime between 1440-1445 AD, according to a new study from University of Auckland and Landcare Research scientists. The narrow […]

Continue reading “When did the last moa die?

Climate and canoe offer colonisation clues

John Kerr posted in on September 30th, 2014.

Two new studies from Australian and New Zealand authors have shed light on the travels of the first Polynesian settlers of New Zealand. Computer modelling of historical wind patterns, published in PNAS, suggest that the prevailing Pacific winds in during 1100-1300 AD would have been very favourable to Polynesian settlers travelling to Easter Island and […]

Tuatara’s distant relative also survived asteroid

John Kerr posted in on August 21st, 2014.

New fossils from South America overturn the current thinking that the tuatara was the only species of its kind to survive a catastrophic asteroid impact millions of years ago. Often referred to as a ‘living fossil’, New Zealand’s tuatara was believed to be the only species of its kind – called rhynchocephalians – to survive […]

Moa populations stable until humans arrived

John Kerr posted in on August 8th, 2012.

Researchers have analysed DNA from bones of a number of giant extinct moa and used the data to make inferences about the size of the ancient moa population in New Zealand. The research found that despite significant significant climate and environmental changes , the moa population size of the giant moa remained stable over the […]

Kiwis confirm rock painting as Australia’s oldest

John Kerr posted in on June 19th, 2012.

Researchers from the University of Waikato carbon-dating team have have identified recently discovered rock art in Australia’s Northern Territories as the being country’s oldest. Researchers from the University of Southern Queensland, during  excavation of a small part of a massive rock shelter site named Narwala Gabarnmang, uncovered a rock fragment displaying part of a charcoal […]

Newsletter Digest: Kepler launch, when science stories go bad, SMC is hiring

Peter Griffin posted in on February 18th, 2011.

Spacecraft’s progress tracked from NZ The Johannes Kepler unmanned spacecraft is scheduled to dock with the International Space Station after a successful launch from French Guiana yesterday. Progress of the automated transport vehicle which is being used to send supplies to the ISS, remove waste and to help reposition the ISS with the help of […]

Radio NZ: Archaeologists and art restorers have discovered what they believe are the oldest paintings of the faces of Jesus Christ’s apostles

Peter Griffin posted in on June 24th, 2010.

Laser technology has allowed the discovery of what are believed to be the oldest paintings of the faces of Jesus Christ’s apostles. The discovery was made on the ceiling of a burial chamber in a catacomb in Rome. An excerpt: (read in full here) “The restorers and Vatican officials believe the paintings date from the […]

Dom Post: Intriguing new branches broaden the human family tree

Peter Griffin posted in on April 12th, 2010.

Bob Brockie writes in the Dominion Post about the recent fossil discoveries which suggest that modern humanity lived with several other forms of humanity for a number of years in our early history. Recently,  the announcement was made that a fossil in Siberia could be from a previously unknown hominid who might have been co-existing […]

Dom Post: Stone the crows – it’s the first time I’ve heard of that

Peter Griffin posted in on February 8th, 2010.

Bob Brockie of the Dominion Post discusses some of the science discoveries over the last month that, while fascinating, didn’t make the news. The include the finding that the universe is far more run-down that previously though, that crows are very good at recognising distinct people, Roman coins, the impact teachers can have on the […]

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