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Tuatara (adaptation)

29 Jul 2016

Our Subjects / Ā Mātou Kaupapa:
Animals, Science

Where can I find information on how the tuatara has adapted over time?

LEVEL: Intermediate / Secondary

Tuatara are lizard-like reptiles found only in New Zealand. Because tuatara still look like the fossil Sphenodontians which lived during the age of dinosaurs, 220 million years ago, they are often called living fossils.

Science Learning Hub is a great site to start for all New Zealand science topics. Use the search bar to find the article on tuatara. You can also do a search for adaptations to find out more information about adaptation in general.

HOT TIP: We chose Science Learning Hub because it’s from a reputable organisation. You can tell this by looking at the bottom of their web page - they are supported by the New Zealand government. This means that they're relevant for us here in New Zealand, and we can trust the information on this site.

Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand is an excellent starting point for all questions about New Zealand Aotearoa. If we scroll down to the bottom of the page we can see that the website belongs to the Ministry for Culture & Heritage, so the information is well-researched and reliable. Try doing a search for tuatara using the search box. The article on tuatara has a few different pages to make sure to have a look through all of them! You can also find a good video by clicking 'All images & media in this story' on the left side of the page.

EPIC is a collection of reliable databases covering lots of different topics. It’s put together especially for New Zealand school students and helps to answer questions like this. 

The Australia/New Zealand Reference Centre is a great place to start for New Zealand topics:

  • Try using our keyword 'tuatara' to see what you can find.
  • This article from the Natural History journal called The Tenacious Tuatara might be interesting for you!

The New Zealand Geographic Archive has some useful articles and pictures.

Britannica School is another great EPIC database for general information. Have a quick search to find the article about tuatara.

HOT TIP: To get to the EPIC databases you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or, you can log on to between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday, and one of the librarians can help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

One last place to look is Wikipedia which has great coverage of many topics, including the tuatara. But you need to be aware that this information is contributed by lots of different people. If you are using this site, it always pays to check the information against that on other sites or in books from the library.

To find more general information, also see our ManyAnswers entry on the tuatara.

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