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Rights: University of Waikato
Published 3 November 2009 Referencing Hub media
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ASSOC PROF ALISON CREE
I think there’s a misconception out there in the public's mind that tuatara can be described as living fossils, and scientists in the past have contributed to that – we’ve used the term, too, in the past – but today, many scientists think that term ‘living fossil’ is inaccurate. It gives the idea, I think, to many people that tuatara have been unchanged for millions of years – that, if you look at the living animal, it’s the same as fossils from 100 millions years ago or more. And we know it’s not the same – it’s not the same internally or in its behaviour or ecology as animals that lived in the past.

Acknowledgement: University of Waikato