One of the main reasons for large gaps in New Zealand’s fossil record is the dynamic geological environment. Large periods of geological time have very few rock formations left as they have been destroyed. Mountains have been raised up and eroded away. Glaciers have lain over much of the land, grinding and scouring away the rocks beneath. Palaeontologists are left with the remaining rocks (and the fossils they contain) as records of past life – but as the record is incomplete, so the history of life in New Zealand is incomplete.
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Photograph by Christina Troup
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