Home > Non Fiction > Lost Wonders. Vanished Creatures of Aotearoa by Sarah Ell, illus. Phoebe Morris.

Lost Wonders. Vanished Creatures of Aotearoa by Sarah Ell, illus. Phoebe Morris.

February 11, 2020

lost wondersLost Wonders. Vanished Creatures of Aotearoa by Sarah Ell, illus. Phoebe Morris. Pub. Allen&Unwin, 2020.

This very readable non fiction work about lost animal species in New Zealand is one of the most fascinating works i have ever read. Not only does Sarah Ell describe the geological history of New Zealand and the species that lived here she gives the Maori legends and stories that surrounds great beasts like the moa and the Haast eagle and smaller creatures live the huia and piopio.

80 million years ago when the continent of Zealandia, on which New Zealand sits, broke away from Gongwana, it carried a cargo of plants and animal life that thereafter would develop in isolation. While Haast and other geologists found evidence of the moa and the Haast Eagle in the early 19th century it wasn’t until  in the 1970’s in Hawks Bay that Jean Wiffen found evidence of dinosaurs. After the dinosaurs died off 65 million years ago NZ became Land of the Birds and was until European settlement in the 1800’s.

Amazingly while 24% of species have disappeared from NZ since Human settlement on the Chatham Islands the extinction rate is over 50%. Read this story too.

Part 2 of this book features species that have been lost and then found such as the Takahe found in Dusky Sound in 1848.

Phoebe Morris’s illustrations are superb. This wonderful; non fiction work should be in every school library. For primary Intermediate and High school.

 

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