Date:February 2, 2016
Source:University of Otago
The little penguin species (popularly known as little blue penguins) found in southern New Zealand is a surprisingly recent invader from Australia, according to a new study led by University of Otago researchers.
Following the recent discovery that little penguins in the southern province of Otago belong to an Australian species, a team of researchers from New Zealand and the United States set out to determine when the Aussies first arrived.
The Marsden and Allan Wilson Centre-funded study was carried out by Dr Stefanie Grosser as part of her PhD research, and led by Professor Jon Waters from Otago's Department of Zoology.
The researchers analysed ancient DNA from the remains of over one hundred little penguins: bones dating back to pre-human times, as well specimens from archaeological deposits and museums.