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Gisborne: 11 November 2015
The Allan Wilson Centre, established in 2002, is one of New Zealand’s seven Centres of Research Excellence and one of two hosted by Massey University. We are a scientific network of over 100 researchers based at five universities and two crown research institutes. Following in the footsteps of the great New Zealand scientist, Allan Wilson, our researchers study the evolution of humans, animals, plants and disease. We are committed to securing the future of New Zealand’s biodiversity and improving human and environmental health.
Two rare species discovered in Uawa/Tolaga Bay census: Students, aged 5-18, from Tolaga Bay Area School, guided by scientists from the Allan Wilson Centre, DOC, Te Papa, and Groundtruth, collected over 500 species of plants and animals in a 24-hour Bioblitz (12-13 Feb) – a survey of local biodiversity that will inform the restoration project underway there. Excitingly, they detected the presence of bats, the only native land mammal we have, and sighted the NZ Dotterel, a shorebird which is rarer even than kiwi and tigers! Full results will be posted on this site soon. The full report is now available here Or you can order a hard copy from firstname.lastname@example.org
Director, Hamish Spencer, responds to the Government decision not to refund the Allan Wilson Centre.
Some of you will be aware of the news that the AWC’s application for continued funding in the latest Centre of Research Excellence (CoRE) round was unsuccessful. This result means that the AWC will close at the end of this year, and the support for our science projects and outreach programmes will cease. I have to say I am extremely disappointed by this outcome, but I am not alone. Massey Vice Chancellor, Professor Steve Maharey wrote, "The Government's decision to end funding for the CoRE is not easy to understand given the outstanding record established by the AWC...
Over 4000 people, including 1500 students, flocked to hear expatriate NZer, Professor Tom Higham (University of Oxford), the last speaker in the AWC's international speaker series. His update on ancient human history in Europe did not disappoint. Tom is an expert on carbon dating, and has been able to refine the date at which Neanderthals disappeared to 39,000-41,000 years ago. The newcomers, Homo sapiens sapiens - that's us - interbred with Neanderthals and the mysterious Denisovans, and carry some of their genes to this day. Understanding why our fellow humans became extinct is work in progress. See When Neanderthals and Modern Humans Meet (YouTube video)...learn more