Kōrero: Evolution of plants and animals

Examining a theropod bone

Examining a theropod bone

Pictured in 2006, paleontologist Jeffrey Stilwell (left) of Melbourne’s Monash University and student Chris Consoli examine a theropod toe-bone fossil they found on the Chatham Islands. As few dinosaur fossils have been unearthed in New Zealand, this was a major discovery. The 65–70 million-year-old fossils include a tiny claw and finger bone, and spinal, foot, and leg bones from an unknown species of two-legged, meat-eating theropod. The first dinosaur fossils were not found in New Zealand until 1975, in inland Hawke’s Bay. Since then only one other place, near the Waikato River mouth, has revealed a dinosaur bone. New Zealand dinosaurs are thought to have died out at the same time as others worldwide – at the end of the Cretaceous period, 65 million years ago. This means they would have been isolated for about 20 million years after the country broke away from Gondwana – enough time to evolve into forms unique to New Zealand.

Te whakamahi i tēnei tūemi

Monash University
Photograph by Melissa Di Ciero

This item has been provided for private study purposes (such as school projects, family and local history research) and any published reproduction (print or electronic) may infringe copyright law. It is the responsibility of the user of any material to obtain clearance from the copyright holder.

Ngā whakaahua me ngā rauemi katoa o tēnei kōrero

Te tuhi tohutoro mō tēnei whārangi:

Matt McGlone, 'Evolution of plants and animals - Evolution, geology and climate', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/mi/photograph/12413/examining-a-theropod-bone (accessed 22 November 2019)

He kōrero nā Matt McGlone, i tāngia i te 24 Sep 2007