Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Tuatara: Chester Zoo celebrate breeding 'living fossil'

1 February 2016

A reptile believed to have pre-dated most species of dinosaur has hatched at Chester Zoo for the first time.

A conservationist has been trying to breed tuatara - which are native to New Zealand - for the last 38 years.

Isolde McGeorge said tuatara, which first appeared 225 million years ago, "really are a living fossil and an evolutionary wonder."

She said she "broke down in tears" when the reptile hatched and that it was an "incredible achievement".

It followed "lots of hard work, lots of stressful moments and lots of tweaking of the conditions", Ms McGeorge added.

"Tuatara lived before the dinosaurs and they survived after dinosaurs had died out," she said. "They really are a living fossil and an evolutionary wonder.

"To be the first zoo to ever breed them outside of their homeland in New Zealand is undoubtedly an amazing event."

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