Moa

Great news for Trevor, maybe he can get that legacy after all

Before the last election Trevor Mallard had a fantastic plan to resurrect the moa.

Of course he never told his leader about it and then stole all the headlines.

But it seems he wasn’t altogether wonky about at least trying.

It seems that there are 14 extinct species that could be cloned and brought back…the moa and Haast’s Eagle amongst them.

Imagine herds of mammoths roaming the open fields and saber-toothed cats prowling around your neighborhood. Science is on the brink of reviving a number of extinct animals ? all that?s needed is a good sample of the animal?s DNA. The basic method of reproductive cloning that could bring animals back from extinction consists of taking DNA from the remains of the species you want to clone and inserting that DNA into a cell (preferably an egg) of a related living species. Then, until the day that artificial wombs can do the job, the best method is for the animal?s closest living relative to carry the baby to term.

While clones made this way do exist (the first successful one was Dolly the sheep in 1996) the science of cloning is still in its infancy, so don?t expect your local lab to start churning out saber-toothed cats right away. But if we?re willing to navigate the stumbling blocks inherent in patching back together extinct species, all of the animals on this roster could be up for de-extinction, since we have already accessed their DNA.

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What’s the matter media, can’t you say Maori?

Look at these headlines and articles from yesterday:

Fairfax headline

Fairfax headline

NZ Herald headline

NZ Herald headline

Both articles then explain the situation. First up the NZ Herald:

Even small human populations can wipe out big animal species, according to local researchers who suggest moa extinction was rapid.

Researchers from the University of Canterbury and University of Otago contributed to the new findings, which appeared in the journal Nature Communications.

Professor Richard Holdaway from Canterbury and Otago’s Chris Jacomb said early Polynesians who caused moa extinction in little more than a century had amongst the lowest human population densities on record.

They found that during the peak period of moa hunting, there were fewer than 1500 Polynesian settlers in New Zealand, or about 1 person per 100 square km. New Zealand’s population density today is 17 per square km.

The researchers started with the latest estimate for a founding population of about 400 people, including 170-230 women. They then applied population growth rates in the range achieved by past and present populations and modelled the human population size through the moa hunter period and beyond.

Prof Holdaway and Mr Jacomb said when moa and seals were still available, the better diet likely fuelled higher population growth.

But the moa’s total extinction most probably occurred within a decade either side of 1425. This was barely a century after East Polynesians settled the earliest well-dated site, at Wairau Bar near Blenheim.

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Here’s the flaw in Trevor’s Moa Plan

Defrosting ancient poo could reintroduce some age-old bugs to the modern world, scientists say.

An extremely infectious and deadly ancient virus, released from a frozen slumber by warming climates, could play havoc with immune systems that have no experience of such germs.

A team of international biologists, including the University of Canterbury’s Arvind Varsani, has proven that such an incident is theoretically possible, after they resurrected an ancient virus from the 700-year-old frozen droppings of Canadian caribou.

With a little reconstruction, the DNA virus, christened the “caribou faeces-associated virus”, has gone on to infect modern-day plants, according to a paper published yesterday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

Varsani said the team had proved ancient viruses were as worthwhile to study as today’s versions – as both may make up tomorrow’s germs.

The virus was also identified as a relative of a modern one, giving valuable insight into how the microbes evolved, he said. “Through this work we might be able to understand where they are going and what they are doing if they become pathogenic.”

The elephant in the room is of course the dinosaurs in the Labour Caucus. ?Is?their poo a risk factor in infecting more modern Labour politicians? ? Read more »

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Things must be getting desperate in Hutt South, Mallard is still musing about Moas

You have to give Trevor Mallard some credit…when he latches onto a cunning stunt he really gives it his all.

Last election he wasted 6 months training his heart out to beat a fat lazy blogger in race around the streets of East Auckland, in a sport that consumes his every waking moment in between stints at his part time job in parliament as an MP.

He lacked the courage to have a crack at a sport of my choosing…boxing or Sporting Clays…he took the easy win and then shut up.

This time his brilliant campaign strategy is to repeatedly and vociferously advocate for the resurrection of a long dead bird…and I’m not talking about his political career here…rather he wants to investigate in saving and extinct bird, the moa.

Trevor Mallard just can’t let go of his fascination with resurrecting the moa.

Yesterday Inglewood, a town long associated with the extinct flightless bird, came to the attention of the Labour MP.

He was in Taranaki yesterday to talk about sport and recreation, but was fascinated to learn Inglewood was briefly known as Moatown in the mid-1870s. ? Read more »

Sledge of the Day

Chris Bishop is taking the fight to Labour’s Trevor Mallard in Hut South, and by all accounts he is hurting Trevor.

We know this for a couple of reasons. First, that Trevor Mallard had to resort to concocting and outrageous policy idea that he shamelessly shopped to the media in order to get coverage. Secondly, despite his leader scotching that idea he is still pushing hard for it.

Labour sources tell me that polling in Hutt South is neck and neck and this perhaps gives us the underlying reason Trevor Mallard is acting the goat.

Chris Bishop though has promise, especially given this sledge the other day:

This morning I took part in the Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce candidates’ debate. I talked about my vision of the Hutt as a hub for high value manufacturing and high tech industry. There are hundreds of innovative Hutt Valley businesses in these fields already that barely anyone in Wellington let alone Auckland knows about. If I am privileged enough to be elected as MP for Hutt South I won’t waste my time talking about moas and won’t get thrown out of Parliament constantly. I’ll be a champion for high tech jobs for the Hutt, for research and development, science and innovation, and upskilling our young people at great institutions like Weltec. It’s time for a fresh face for Hutt South and a new strong voice in Parliament and government.

He continues to use the moa distraction to his advantage…the mark of a good politician to keep using a stuff up by an opponent to rub salt into wounds.

Mr Moa and Chris Bishop

Mr Moa and Chris Bishop

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Claire Trevett on Mallard’s moa

Claire Trevett has a lash at Trevor Mallard’s?moa?malarkey:

Taika Waititi recently said of his movie?What We Do in the Shadows?that everybody needs a bit of silly in their lives. Labour’s Trevor Mallard immediately took his advice.

He gave a speech to the Wainiuomata Business Development breakfast. It began well. A lifelong Wainuiomartian, Mr Mallard spoke of his links to the valley, over the hill from the Hutt Valley. He made a good joke about being in the under 7s cricket team, which was all out for six runs against arch rivals Riverside. “We took our name too literally.”

He spoke of the joys of the valley’s microclimate, its community spirit, its need to attract more people and the low property prices, getting in a jab at the value to loan requirements making it harder for young families in the area to buy first homes “as a side effect of targeting Auckland house prices”.

So far, so on message. Then he revealed he’d been spending quite a bit of time on Google and he had discovered the solution to Wainuiomata’s problem.

He had discovered the science of de-extinction. He wanted the moa back in the bush around Wainuiomata.

Mallard’s enthusiasm was such that he took a journey around the Press Gallery to deliver the speech in person, along with photos of himself cuddling a kiwi, and illustrations of the Spanish bucardo ibex and the gastric-brooding frog in Australia.

Attempts had already been made to bring these two species back from the dead, although one did die again rather swiftly and the other never resulted in viable foetuses.

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We’ve figured it out: Trevor’s after parliament career

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and he’s even appointed his supply manager!

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H/T?Fishnhunt nz Forum

Armstrong on Mallard’s moa delusion

John Armstrong muses about the rationale behind Trevor Mallard’s moa media stunt.

Trevor Mallard’s mind-boggling suggestion to harness science to bring the moa back to life will likely end up being much-a-dodo about nothing.

And won’t David Cunliffe be relieved. Trying to breathe life of its own into his faltering leadership, Cunliffe had recently promised that Labour henceforth would be focusing on “the things that matter”.

Mallard may have misunderstood his leader, but it is unlikely that the “matter” Cunliffe was referring to was recovered DNA from moa egg shells.

Along with his front-bench colleagues, Cunliffe had to grin through gritted teeth as they were lampooned mercilessly by Government MPs for much of Parliament’s afternoon hour-long question-time and beyond.

Never one to look a gift moa in the mouth, National’s Steven Joyce kicked off the mass ribbing by manipulating his forearm and hand to resemble the neck and head of a moa and then waved the ensemble at arriving Labour MPs — a pantomime act so polished that Joyce must have devoted all but a few moments of his lunchtime to perfecting it.

The subsequent deluge of puns and wisecracks became progressively more lame from thereon — with one exception. When Winston Peters got to his feet, National backbencher Scott Simpson interjected: “A live moa!”.

Trevor Mallard must have done this on purpose. To cause a day of distraction for Labour, unfortunately it also distracted from anything positive that DAvid Cunliffe had to say about anything and ended up sidetracking the leader.? Read more »

Mallard doing a leadership run-up?

One better than Putin

Looks like Trevor Mallard is taking some tactics from the Putin playbook – bare chested and being ridden by an extinct animal riding a wild animal.

I think it is?very clear who is vying for the Labour Party leadership!

Giant drum sticks for everyone

The other day I read something so ridiculous that I asked myself how is it that someone like this is actually taken seriously as a Politician?

US congressional candidate Tim Murray claimed that he was beaten by? a ROBOT that was made to look like Frank D. Lucas, the Republican nominee for an Oklahoma congressional election that he says? has been dead for three years.

A Politician who believes that the man who beat him is an imposter Robot? Thank God we have nothing quite so bizarre in New Zealand……oh wait.

I read today of Trevor Mallard’s grand plan that will appeal both to the Green environmental vote, the Labour vote and to those who have always wanted bigger drumsticks at KFC. It is a plan to renew interest in Rimutaka Forest Park and Wainuiomata.

It will be a boost to tourism and will therefore boost the local economy with new jobs except for one minor flaw. Can you spot it?

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