All Creatures Podcast

Episode 217: Tuatara, A Living Fossil

May 5, 2021

We jump back to New Zealand to cover one of the most unique animals on our planet, the Tuatara. This is a true living fossil. They are the last of their kind, from an ancient order of reptiles, that has survived nearly 240 million years. Because they were isolated on New Zealand for nearly 85 million years, Tuataras survived mass extinctions and have changed little over that time. However, when humans first set foot on New Zealand nearly 700 years ago, the Tuatara was nearly driven to extinction1, albeit unintentionally. Pacific Rats hitched a ride with the early Polynesian settlers and drove many New Zealand species to extinction. Yet, while the Tuatara suffered due to the rats, they have survived and today are a species of focus by New Zealand, and are rebounding. A special podcast for a special species. 

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