Airing On Monday
August 29th 2016
8:00 pm eastern, 7:00 pm central and 5:00 pm pacific
This show is a special request from one of our hosts – Ken Boorman. Tuatara are rare, medium-sized reptiles endemic to New Zealand and which, although resembling most lizards, are part of a distinct lineage, the order Rhynchocephalia. Their name derives from the Māori language, and means “peaks on the back”. There are two recognised species of tuatara (and a couple of subspecies), and they are the only surviving members of their order, which flourished around 200 million years ago, in the age of the dinosaurs. Their most recent common ancestor with any other extant group is with the squamates (lizards and snakes). For this reason, tuatara are of great interest in the study of the evolution of lizards and snakes, and for the reconstruction of the appearance and habits of the earliest diapsids (the group that also includes dinosaurs (which include birds) and crocodilians).