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Moa Bones
March 24, 2012

Above are bones of the now extinct moa found in a cave in Waitomo. Moa were flightless ratite birds, relatives of other species of modern flightless birds, including emus and ostriches. The origin of the Moa bird within New Zealand has two hypotheses. One is of vicariance, where the ancestor of the moa was isolated on New Zealand when it broke off Gondwana 80 million years ago. (more...)

tags: Biogeography of New Zealand, Waitomo

location: Waitomo Caves, Waikato, New Zealand

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Rata
February 3, 2012

A tree within a tree! Depicted above is a rata tree that has grown around another tree. The small roots that were little more than vines in the previous picture have since coalesced into a hollow "pseudo-trunk." The center is a dead and rotting tree (we were unable to identify) and the rata tree is hugging it. The rata tree has killed off its host, and given enough time, the host tree will completely rot away, leaving a rata tree with an apparently hollow trunk. (more...)

tags: Biogeography of New Zealand, Field trip Wellington

location: Upper Hutt, Wellington, New Zealand

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fancy

Rata and Hinau
February 3, 2012

Roots of a Rata tree (Metrosideros robusta) can be seen here growing off a Hinau tree (Elaeocarpus dentatus), which was a common canopy tree we observed in the broadleaf forest of Kaitoke. The Rata began as an epiphyte, doing little to no harm to the host tree, but benefiting from being raised into the canopy, allowing it to gain access to sunlight. (more...)

tags: Biogeography of New Zealand, Field trip Wellington

location: Upper Hutt, Wellington, New Zealand

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