Thursday, March 20, 2008

111 year old tuatara finally mates

How's this for heartwarming?

I've actually visited a wildlife preserve in New Zealand (where most of the more unique local species, like the tuatara and the kiwi, have been decimated by rodents and such introduced by colonists; you're more likely to see such animals in a protected enclosure than in the wild). I must admit that the tuatara were a tad anticlimactic; seeing them fulfilled a childhood dream, since, when I was a dinosaur-obsessed young man, they really captured my imagination, as a bit of an evolutionary throwback, distinct from lizards in many ways. But they were also amazingly dull animals: they just sat there, doing nothing, in utter stolid lethargy, barely even seeming to breathe. Given this, I imagine it would have been very, very exciting for the tuatara's keepers to stumble upon them copulating. A story for the grandkids...

1 comment:

jonathan said...

It's insane enough to think of just how old that lizard is, but then to think of it having a functional erection and then mounting a female and getting off in the process- it boggles the mind. My parents are in their forties and I'm pretty sure they haven't had sex since their late twenties. Also worth noting...when I read the title and glanced over the word cute, I assumed the tuatara would be a NZ cousin of the koala bear, only furrier.