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“Living Fossil”? Maybe. Tuatara Genome Is Now Sequenced and Published

Paul Nelson
Photo credit: KeresH / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0).

Often referred to as “living fossils” (although this is a subject of much controversy), the tuatara is a fascinating taxon endemic to New Zealand. Nature has published its newly sequenced genome as open access: “The tuatara genome reveals ancient features of amniote evolution.”

The tuatara genome is 5GB, making it enormous relative to other vertebrates — and full of surprises. BTW, tuataras can live a LONG time (up to a hundred years or more), so if you see one, make sure he or she receives the senior discount and preferred seating on the aisle.

Paul Nelson

Senior Fellow, Center for Science and Culture
Paul A. Nelson is currently a Senior Fellow of the Discovery Institute and Adjunct Professor in the Master of Arts Program in Science & Religion at Biola University. He is a philosopher of biology who has been involved in the intelligent design debate internationally for three decades. His grandfather, Byron C. Nelson (1893-1972), a theologian and author, was an influential mid-20th century dissenter from Darwinian evolution. After Paul received his B.A. in philosophy with a minor in evolutionary biology from the University of Pittsburgh, he entered the University of Chicago, where he received his Ph.D. (1998) in the philosophy of biology and evolutionary theory.

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amniotesevolutiongenomeliving fossilsNature (journal)New Zealandsenior discountvertebrates