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New Zealand’s giant extinct bird traced back to Africa

Scientists have revealed the African origins of New Zealand’s most mysterious giant flightless bird – the now extinct adzebill – showing that some of its closest living relatives are the pint-sized flufftails from Madagascar and Africa. Led by the University of Adelaide, the research in the journal Diversity showed that among the closest living relatives of the […]

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ACAD discovers two new penguin species through Ancient DNA

Researchers at the University of Adelaide’s Australian Centre for Ancient DNA analysed DNA from prehistoric penguin bones found on the Chatham Islands east of New Zealand as part of the evolutionary study. Co-author of the study, Dr Kieren Mitchell said they were surprised when ancient DNA from these bones revealed the existence of two previously […]

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Media release: NZ wren DNA analysis reshapes geological theory

A DNA analysis of living and extinct species of mysterious New Zealand wrens may change theories around the country’s geological and evolutionary past. A University of Adelaide study into New Zealand’s acanthisittid wrens has provided compelling evidence that, contrary to some suggestions, New Zealand was not completely submerged under the ocean around 21 to 25 […]

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New Zealand claims back the Kiwi after ancient DNA testing

Almost 20 years ago, Alan Cooper from the Australian Centre of Ancient DNA found that the Kiwi might actually originate from Australia. Given that the emu and cassowary are the Kiwis closest living relatives and that New Zealand split off from Australia when Gondwana broke up, this was a logical suggestion. Alan Cooper is from […]

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Flightless parrots, burrowing bats helped parasitic Hades flower

Ancient dung from a cave in the South Island of New Zealand has revealed a previously unsuspected relationship between two of the country’s most unusual threatened species. Fossilised dung (coprolites) of a now rare parrot, the nocturnal flightless kakapo, contained large amounts of pollen of a rare parasitic plant, dactylanthus (commonly known as “wood rose” […]

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