Saturday, 17 January 2015
Friday, 2 January 2015
There are very few species of small(ish) reptile which are famous outside their native range unless they are venomous or brightly coloured, but the Tuatara Sphenodon punctatus of New Zealand is certainly among that select number. Their fame is due to their being the sole survivor of a unique lineage of reptiles separate from the turtles, the archosaurs, and the lizards, although they are most nearly related to the last, although since they split from the common ancestor with the lizards well over a quarter of a billion years ago even that is not close. The book reviewed here is a summary and survey of the whole of tuatara-related research, and covers not just the biology and ecology of the living animal, but its evolutionary history, interactions with humans, and their past, present, and future conservation status.