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edit·history·watch·refresh Stock post message.svg To-do list for Tuatara:
  • add details about brain and heart (referred to in the text but no detail given yet)
  • provide solid references for the anatomy section
  • When was S. guntheri accepted as a separate species?
    • rediscovery of old type specimen
  • format journal refs with DOI and PMID (PMID not needed if DOI provides an abstract)
    • but prefer whatever offers a free download
  • determine whether Brothers Island tuatara has an apostrophe, and use this spelling throughout
  • table of features believed to be ancestral to which taxonomic group (see talk page)
  • preferred food: giant weta
  • superficial similarity to agamids and iguanids
  • where are the eggs laid and incubated?
  • Edit the temporal range - the tuatara has been around since the Mesozoic, but the info-box says only Pleistocene - Recent
  • spellcheck when all is done
  • what noises do they make? -> provide an audio sample
Sections to expand
  • Conservation
    • Zoos (good detail about space requirements here)
    • Captive breeding
    • mention Recovery plan versions 1 and 2, administrative aspects
    • Releases
      • Mainland releases: fencing
Determine the outcome of the following conservation plans
  • The 2001-2011 Recovery Plan, published in 2001, states that eradication of rats from [Little Barrier Island] is pending.
  • Another rodent eradication was carried out on the Rangitoto Islands east of D’Urville Island, to prepare for the release of 432 Cook Strait tuatara juveniles in 2004, which were being raised at Victoria University as of 2001.


IMPORTANT: Coins[edit]

Please take note of the license issues in using pictures of New Zealand currency, as discussed in the peer review and this template. - Samsara (talkcontribs) 10:37, 30 May 2006 (UTC)

Cool, didn't realise. --Midnighttonight 02:36, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
I apologise. I was reading the version on the German wikipedia and saw they had the coin in there and thought it might be nice. I forgot about the peer review. Spare my life please? pschemp | talk 13:56, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
If the coin has be demonitised, is it still legal currency? If not, that may be a different issue we are dealing with. pschemp | talk 13:59, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
The same issue still seems to be there. Neither Section 30 of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Act 1989 nor their guidelines on it distinguish between coins currently in circulation and those that have been demonitised. The rules also apply with equal force to foreign currency. Whether any of this affects Wikipedians living outside NZ is another issue. -- Avenue 15:56, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
After having reviewed the relevant document, my thinking on the license issues with the coin image is now that the coin can no longer be considered "currency" because it has been demonetised. The document put out by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) on this matter (linked above) explicitly defines the application of the document:
A bank note or coin may be described as any physical document (or stamped piece of metal), that is, or is intended to be, used or circulated as a universal means of exchange between genuine purchasers and which is denominated into units of account (such as dollars).
However, the demonetised coin cannot be considered a current means of exchange between genuine purchasers, nor is it intended to be (or else it would not have been demonetised). Therefore I reason that the cited document no longer applies. However, I am not sure that fair use rights can be stretched to this article, and the copyright has not been explicitly released for any purpose by the RBNZ, which is what we would really need to happen. So it would seem that we still cannot use the image in this article - unless anybody else has further information? Samsara (talk  contribs) 15:47, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
Sorry, my post above was made before I noticed yours. The wording of the statute is, in part, that no one can "reproduce ... any article or thing resembling a bank note or coin or so nearly resembling or having such a likeness to a bank note or coin as to be likely to be confused with or mistaken for it." That doesn't seem to distinguish between old and current coinage. I agree the guidelines suggest that the rule is not intended to include demonitised coins, but that would probably leave us worse off, since the permission given there would no longer apply. And our current "fair use" policy doesn't allow its use either. So I agree with your conclusion that we can't use the coin image here. -- Avenue 16:19, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
Agreed. The only addition I would make is that the document I cited (there seem to be several versions floating around...?) makes a distinction between images etc. and physical (presumably three-dimensional) reproductions. I would say that Wikipedia's use falls into the "image" category rather than the "article or thing resembling" category. But anyway, this is unqualified lawyering on my part. Samsara (talk  contribs) 16:34, 31 May 2007 (UTC)
Ok, seems leaving it out is best. I wonder what is using as a reason. I was under the impression that they are even stricter about images than we are. Should we let them know? pschemp | talk 16:42, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

Do they produce sound?[edit]

Does the tuatara have a voice or any sound producing organs?

They do make sounds, but have no eardrums. See the Berlin Zoo reference. pschemp | talk 21:19, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

Confusing text[edit]

From Classification:

Together with Squamata (which is its sister group), the tuatara belongs to the group Lepidosauria, the only survivor of Lepidosauromorpha. Its origin probably lies close to the split between the Lepidosauromorpha and the Archosauromorpha, making it the closest living thing we can find to a "proto-reptile".
  1. Saying it is the 'only survivor' is nonsensical considering the Lepidosauria also includes snakes and lizards (numerous species).
  2. No extant reptile is any more like a "proto-reptile" than any other, they have all evolved their own distinctions in different ways, the Tuatara just as much as any (as in e.g. its temperature tolerance cited in the article). - MPF 10:22, 20 January 2006 (UTC)

Table needed[edit]

This article needs a table showing which of the tuatara's features are believed to be the ancestral within which taxonomic group, e.g.

Uncinate process Diapsids
Gastric ribs Diapsids
Parietal eye Vertebrates

Samsara contrib talk 01:17, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

Removed sentences[edit]

The tuatara's limbs are well-muscled, have sharp claws and partially webbed feet, and it can swim well. The tuatara usually doesn't chase its prey; instead it just sits and waits until a suitable prey passes by.
The tuatara has no external copulatory organs, and is like caecilians and most birds in transferring the sperm by partially extruding the rear part of its cloaca. It is still not clear if the tuatara evolved from reptiles which never had a penis from the start or if the ancestor of the Lepidosauria lost it at some point during evolution.

Samsara contrib talk 01:42, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

General comments and suggestions[edit]

I just took a quick look over the article. I think that there's good information here, but think that the overall organization and flow need work. Flow/organization issues are common on Wikipedia, but I wonder if taxon-based articles shouldn't adopt some standard organizational scheme. WikiSpecies has an outline they suggest (or require?) that might be helpful (or not, I don't really remember). Here's my specific issues:

  1. I don't think the intro is adequate. I think it would be important to describe them as lizard-like, and mention that there are only two species. Maybe that they're a "living fossil?" I'd make these specific comments myself, but think that the intro needs work beyond this.
  2. I'm not sure that the Taxonomy section should go first. For a general reader, the general description might be more interesting than the taxonomy to start off with. While I like the Taxonomy section, I'm concerned jumping right into the differences between Lepidosauromorpha and Archosauromorpha might scare away those without a background in zoology. I suggest starting with the general description then going into natural history (reproduction and ecology).
  3. I have serious questions about the factual accuracy of the "third eye" buisiness. Parietal eyes are in no way "famous." I'm not sure that the parietal eye is actually a vestigial real eye; this needs a reference. The parietal eye is NOT similar to a real eye, as it is difficult to even notice (and then only noticable in hatchlings???). This whole section needs a thorough fact check, and maybe an image, if available. I would NOT suggest the parietal eye article as a source, as the information content here seems even less reliable.
  4. I think there could be some more information on general natural history. Tuataras live in close assocaition with seabirds, inhabiting seabird burrows (and often eating their eggs and chicks). There's little info on diet (and what there is is in the "skull" section.) And tuataras can live 50+ years. That's pretty cool and worth mentioning.
  5. I would suggest "Natural history" instead of "Ecology and behavior", and I think Reproduction could be a sub-section of this section.

Hope that my comments are helpful and constructive. It's looking good so far, good luck!Pstevendactylus 16:39, 12 March 2006 (UTC)

Scientific jargon[edit]

The physical description section of this article is far too complicated. I have tried to simplify it, but gave up after a while as I didn't understand a lot of it myself. Mostly, it is in the sensory organs and spine and ribs section, but the skull also had something I didn't like (the skull problems have inline comments). --liquidGhoul 02:31, 26 July 2006 (UTC)

I think that the level of detail presented goes a bit beyond what is needed for an encyclopedia article.--Peta 02:36, 26 July 2006 (UTC)
I think the info which seperates them from the rest of the reptiles is relevant, it just needs to be better expressed. Probably by removing some of it. --liquidGhoul 02:43, 26 July 2006 (UTC)
There was an idea at one stage of having a table or even phylogram showing which features are shared with which groups, and which are unique. - Samsara (talkcontribs) 12:06, 26 July 2006 (UTC)

Problem Areas[edit]

There are a few areas of the article which need some collaboration. Most of it is jargon, of which I can't understand or I don't know how to simplify. Or if we even need to simplify. The rest is just some random things, I will state what is wrong with each bit.

Squamates and tuataras both show caudal autotomy (loss of the tail-tip when threatened) and have a transverse cloacal slit.

Is the highlighted section neccesary, and if so how can it be simplified?

The typical lizard shape is very common for the early amniotes; the oldest known fossil of a reptile resembles a modern lizard.

I removed the duplicate sentence of this in the next paragraph, but it contained a name. Is the earliest fossil reptile a Homeosaurus?

I have resolved this, it is the Hylonomus. --13:48, 29 July 2006 (UTC)
In tuataras, both eyes can accommodate independently ,

What the hell does that mean?

It is a part of the epithalamus, which can be divided into two major parts; the epiphysis (the pineal organ, or pineal gland if mostly endocrine) and the parietal organ, often called the parietal eye, or third eye, if photoreceptive. It arises as an anterior evagination of the pineal organ or as a separate outgrowth of the roof of the diencephalon. In the tuatara the parietal eye is similar to an actual eye, even if it is rudimentary. The organ is the remnant of a real eye inherited from some very ancient and remote ancestor.

The red section is too complicated, and the green section is too simple. I don't know whether the eye was functional in the ancestor, and it has degenerated during its evolution or what. It needs to be expanded, but my sources don't speak of its evolution.

The stapes comes into contact with the quadrate (which is immovable) as well as the hyoid and squamosal. The hair cells are unspecialized, innervated by both afferent and efferent nerve fibres

I don't really think either of the red sections are neccesary for an encyclopaedia, but I would like to explain how they are unspecialised. Again, I don't understand the text, so I can't really help.

The tuatara spine is made up of hour-glass shaped amphicoelous vertebrae, concabe both before and behind.

Could we just say that its vertebrae is similar shape to fish and amphibians, and is unique among the amniotes without mentioning the exact shape?

The real ribs are remarkable too, as small projections, pointing and hooked little bones, are found posterior of each rib (uncinate processes, also seen in birds). The only remaining tetrapod with both well developed gastralia and uncinate processes is the tuatara. Crocodilia have only small and rudimentary cartilaginous remnants of the uncinate processes.

I have tried really hard to simplify and clean this up, but it is really hard. I will have another go at it with a fresh head, but I am putting it up here if anyone is really keen.

The last paragraph of "Spine and ribs" talks about the general evolution of amniotes, and doesn't even mention tuatara. I suggest completely removing this paragraph.

They can maintain normal activities at temperatures as low as 7° C, but prefer temperatures of 16–21° C, the lowest optimal body temperature of any reptile; temperatures over 28° C are generally fatal.

This sentence is too long and segmented, but I cannot find a way to fix it.

This just required a clear head. --liquidGhoul 13:57, 29 July 2006 (UTC)

Finally, can we use common names for the species, and can we have them capitalised to go with the rest of the herpetology featured articles? Thanks --liquidGhoul 05:30, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

It seems to me that most of these passages are necessary to show the notability of the genus/order/etc. but could be phrased more descriptively. In some cases, only a graphical illustration will help (e.g. stape/hyoid/squamosal/quadrate). - Samsara (talkcontribs) 09:01, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
So an illustration showing the differences between say a lizard and tuatara? --liquidGhoul 10:25, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
I've striked out the things you have dealt with. Thanks Samsara. --liquidGhoul 10:29, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
Yes, and with arrows indicating the names of bones. It will probably take some digging in libraries to find a source for such a drawing of the tuatara skull. Alternatively, one could try a natural history museum - they may have one on display. - Samsara (talkcontribs) 10:51, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
Do you live near the British Museum or Natural History Museum? My local museums are crap, yours are the best in the world :(. --liquidGhoul 11:00, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

I think Tuataras are awesome. Too bad they only live in New Zealand. Are they endangered? Does anyone know?...I'm going to try and get one if i can.  :)

Classified as endangered since... 1895?[edit]

Is that correct? There was such a thing 111 years ago? Is it possible that 1895 was a typo and that 1995 was meant? Hi There 16:36, 3 August 2006 (UTC)

Seems unlikely since Lutz says that S. punctatus was removed from the list in 1996, i.e. downgraded to low risk/least concern. S. guntheri is vulnerable. However, the IUCN was founded in 1948. S. guntheri was apparently first listed as endangered by one Groombridge in 1994 [1], but S. punctatus was considered "rare" by the same author in 1982.[2] So either Groombridge chose not to assess S. guntheri in 1982, or did not recognise it as a separate species. While it's clear that S. guntheri was first described as a separate species by Buller in 1877, I'm not sure whether this is equivalent with it being officially recognised. I am not familiar with the processes involved, if any. Samsara (talk  contribs) 20:52, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

Agreed. I don't think the article should say "classified as endangered" because this very strongly implies an IUCN classification. According to the source cited, tuatara were protected in 1895. I have changed it to reflect this. I hope it's OKFoxi tails (talk) 00:16, 5 April 2011 (UTC)


This is a really troublesome passage:

[Albert Günther] proposed the order Rhynchocephalia (meaning "beak head") for the tuatara and its fossil relatives.
During the years since the inception of the Rhynchocephalia, many disparately related species have been added to this order. This has resulted in turning the rhynchocephalia into what taxonomists call a "wastebin taxon". Sphenodontia was proposed by Williston in 1925. Now, most authors prefer to use the more inclusive order name of Sphenodontia for the tuatara and its closest living relatives.

So the way I read this is, the order Rhynchocephalia became a wastebin taxon into which putatively close extinct relatives of the tuatara were thrown. Williston was dissatisfied with the wastebin taxon and made a new taxonomic order, Sphenodontia. However, that would mean that Sphenodontia are a more exclusive order, rather than inclusive, as the text suggests. However, it may also be possible that the two orders over time came to be synonymously used, from my reading between the lines in the reptile encyclopaedia reference. We really need some more evidence (i.e. dead trees) to resolve this passage. - Samsara (talkcontribs) 20:01, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

My understanding is that most modern taxonomists either use one or the other to refer to the order. However, a few (outdated?) sources found via quick Google search seem to use Rhynchcephalia as an order and Sphenodontida as a suborder. For example this site [3], which cites (Olmo and Odierna, 1982) as its source. Either way, the text should in fact read more exclusive rather than inclusive.Dinoguy2 22:09, 17 August 2006 (UTC)
Yes, but now it's too inclusive. See Sphenodontia which it contradicts. Dysmorodrepanis 00:59, 7 June 2007 (UTC)


{{cite book | last=Cree | first=Alison | year=2002 | editor=Halliday, Tim and Adler, Kraig | chapter=Tuatara | title=The new encyclopedia of reptiles and amphibians | publisher=Oxford University Press | pages=210-211 | location=Oxford, UK | id=ISBN 0-19-852507-9}}


Cree, Alison (2002). "Tuatara". In Halliday, Tim and Adler, Kraig. The new encyclopedia of reptiles and amphibians. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 210–211. ISBN 0-19-852507-9. 

I would like to see "In:" and "eds." in that sequence, does not currently seem implemented. Anybody know of a template that has this? Samsara (talk  contribs) 14:20, 3 December 2006 (UTC)


I've had a bit of a fiddle and the article is progressing nicely, though the last section on Etymology is a bit stubby..several other FAs such as the various cetaceans Blue Whale, Humpback Whale and now Common Raven sport a naming/taxonomy section which sits between the lead and the description. I would have thought this whole section could fit into the front of taxonomy - it sort of sits like a trivia section at the present. cheers, Cas Liber | talk | contribs 14:09, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

Main contributors so far[edit]

This is just so we know who to thank when this article gets nominated for FA. Feel free to add any significant contributors I may have missed (add your additions below my signature, and sign, thanks). I compiled this from memory and edit counts.

User:Tavilis, User:Avenue, and User:Gadfium who must have been watching this article for some time, and kept adding things to it.

I'm probably in there somewhere, too.

Samsara (talk  contribs) 14:29, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

Problems with accuracy?[edit]

Why does this article state: "The tuatara has been classified as an endangered species since 1895," while the taxobox indicates it is listed as "vulnerable", not "endangered"? Additionally, there are two extant Tuatara species, so it would not be an endangered species. This mistake (referring to the two species as a species) occurs throughout the text. Firsfron of Ronchester 21:40, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

Yes, the taxonomy is actually a bit of a sticky point. One of the subspecies does not have a name, for example. That's not because we don't know the name, it actually doesn't seem to have one (at least as per the 1990 paper by Daugherty et al.) I also somewhat regret that we actually have an article for *one* of the species (and the rarer one at that!) - here is an example photograph: I think for the moment, the best thing is to keep most of the information in this article, maybe even merge back the stubby, pictureless Brothers Island tuatara. As for the inconsistencies in the text, I'll look into it. Thanks! Samsara (talk  contribs) 21:51, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

Skin and color

The sentence "The tuatara's greenish brown colour matches its environment, and can change over its lifetime, since tuatara shed their skin at least once per year as adults,[23] and three or four times a year as juveniles." was misleading. There is no connection between skin shedding and color change in reptiles. The "skin" being shed is actually the transparent outer layer of the skin, whereas pigment is primarily in living layers of the skin (although some reptile sheds do show traces of black markings). As a simple example, consider the color changes of the chameleon: They can change their colors drastically in a matter of minutes, with no shedding involved. I edited the sentence into two to change the misleading impression. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:51, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

Scaring can be more prominent in a lizard that has recently shed. Not what you would call a colour change but possible the reason behind the original post. --MC (talk) 16:27, 6 May 2010 (UTC)

How far did NZ move?[edit]

This much!

Seriously though, "Zealandia has shifted ~6000 km to the northwest and respect to the underlying mantle from the time when it rifted from Antarctica between 130 and 85 million years ago." The plates approx 249 million years ago and then 100 million years ago are illustrated at the Cimmerian Plate article. So the answer is, quite a ways, but it spent a lot of time near the south pole, which might indicate it's cold weather adaptations as opposed to others. However, this is speculation on my part and a source still needs to be found. pschemp | talk 23:44, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

What we're trying to explain is a difference to their ancestors. You may find it difficult to be the ancestor of someone living on a different tectonic plate. Just a thought. Samsara (talk  contribs) 00:04, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
Ok, if a source can't be found, how about "Tuatara show cold weather adaptations that allow them to thrive on the islands of New Zealand; these adaptations may be unique to tuatara as extinct sphenodontians lived in the much warmer climates of the Mesozoic."?
Alternatively there is "Tuatara show cold weather adaptations that allow them to thrive on the islands of New Zealand; extinct sphenodontians lived in the much warmer climates of the Mesozoic." pschemp | talk 14:10, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
Just a small alteration: "Tuatara show cold weather adaptations that allow them to thrive on the islands of New Zealand; these adaptations may be unique to tuatara since their sphenodontian ancestors lived in the much warmer climates of the Mesozoic." Sound good? Put it in! :) Samsara (talk  contribs) 14:14, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
Works for me. Done. pschemp | talk 14:19, 29 May 2007 (UTC)

Map seems outdated[edit]

"Current" distribution of tuatara (in black). Dots may represent up to five islands.

I like the idea of this map, but it seems a bit outdated to me. In particular, I think readers in Auckland and Wellington would appreciate one that shows tuatara live on Tiritiri Matangi[6] and Matiu/Somes Island. Does anyone know of other current habitats that aren't listed in DoC's Recovery Plan (Appendix 1, pp 29-36)? -- Avenue 02:09, 29 May 2007 (UTC)

Matiu/Somes Island is shown on p. 10. Where is Karori, though? Samsara (talk  contribs) 02:14, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
Good point. Karori is a suburb of Wellington, so we wouldn't need to show Matiu/Somes as a separate dot. -- Avenue 02:22, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
Now that I look more closely, the coastline around Wellington looks odd too. I know it's prone to earthquakes, but ... -- Avenue 02:25, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
I had to remove the cities and city names to fit in the islands. If you have a clean map, please upload it! Samsara (talk  contribs) 02:27, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
Done. Separa 15:09, 17 August 2007 (UTC)

Recent paper on Maori knowledge[edit]

Does anyone have ready access to this paper? It seems like it might help flesh out the Cultural significance section, and connect it with the rest of our article. -- Avenue 00:39, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

KRISTINA M. RAMSTAD, N. J. NELSON, G. PAINE, D. BEECH, A. PAUL, P. PAUL, F. W. ALLENDORF, C. H. DAUGHERTY (2007) Species and Cultural Conservation in New Zealand: Maori Traditional Ecological Knowledge of Tuatara. Conservation Biology 21 (2), 455–464. doi:10.1111/j.1523-1739.2006.00620.x

Nice find. I may have access to it. I'll check later. Samsara (talk  contribs) 16:24, 30 May 2007 (UTC)

Request for paper[edit]

Can anyone get access to



Samsara (talk  contribs) 19:03, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

I had no trouble downloading it from here. -- Avenue 15:39, 3 June 2007 (UTC)
Excellent, thanks! Samsara (talk  contribs) 15:40, 3 June 2007 (UTC)

Reference used in Brothers Island article[edit]

Since I'm merging that article, and the reference wasn't used to add anything that isn't already present in this article, I'll quote it here:

"New Zealand Frogs and reptiles", Brian Gill and Tony Whitaker, David Bateman publishing, 1998

If anyone has that reference, obviously you're welcome to contribute! The original contributor, User:Kotare, did not reply to my query about it, although (s)he has been online. Samsara (talk  contribs) 12:34, 3 June 2007 (UTC):

Yep, the second sentence is definitely supported by the same reference ( pages 22, 23, 24). Hope that helps. And yeah sorry for the delay and I know I've been on a bit but trust me there are (personal) reasons.. it wasn't just laziness. Cheers Kotare 00:25, 4 June 2007 (UTC)
It was good of you to reply. I added it to the article. Samsara (talk  contribs) 19:15, 4 June 2007 (UTC)

Taxonomic history?[edit]

Don't have time to look this up myself at the moment, but I noticed both authorities for the living species in the taxobox are given in parenthesis. This means that they have been re-named or re-classified since original description, but this is not explained in the text (I've found references to S. punctatum rather than S. punctatus, maybe it has to do with this issue?). Anyway, if anybody has refs for a more detailed taxonomic history, it might help. Dinoguy2 02:51, 4 June 2007 (UTC)

You'll have to look into that yourself if you want more detail included. I don't think that a taxonomic history is really required for the article to be comprehensive, and to be honest, I won't be working on that. I feel I've put enough effort into pulling the rest of the article together. You have to stop somewhere, you know? Having said that, if you want to include more information about that, great! Two pointers I can think of: 1) Could the old genus name Hatteria be anything to do with it? 2) You could check the edit history for who originally contributed that information, and determine if they knew what they were doing when they placed the parentheses. Samsara (talk  contribs) 20:49, 4 June 2007 (UTC)

Skull drawing[edit]

User:ArthurWeasley has been kind enough to fashion a drawing of a tuatara skull for us.

I believe he would take some suggestions if there are any. Samsara (talk  contribs) 15:29, 6 June 2007 (UTC)

Gosh, it's great! I don't know if it's possible to show the interesting alignment of teeth in a drawing like this, I looked at the source pictures and they didn't show it either. We've got a picture of a tuatara with flesh showing the overbite, so I would think that is sufficient. Great work and *much* thanks to Arthur. That makes me love wikipedians. pschemp | talk 16:11, 6 June 2007 (UTC)
I'd thought of the possibility of getting an illustration of the dentition, but I don't have a good model for that. Have you seen anything that could be used? Samsara (talk  contribs) 16:39, 6 June 2007 (UTC)

Image material[edit]


If a period piece is ever needed:

Spamsara 15:54, 16 June 2007 (UTC)


This section is exactly same as from the reference:

"Tuatara" was the Journal of the Biological Society of Victoria University College and later Victoria University of Wellington. It was published between 1947 and 1993; the 82 issues report on important New Zealand biological research, and feature articles and illustrations on a variety of topics from botany and zoology to marine ecology and biodiversity. A full digital archive is available here courtesy of the New Zealand Electronic Text Centre

—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

More precise map uploaded[edit]

I've uploaded a higher res map of NZ as suggested by Avenue: Image:Nz large simple downsampled.gif Separa 18:07, 4 August 2007 (UTC)

External link dump[edit]

Removed the following:

Separa 11:14, 15 August 2007 (UTC)

Ross Webber[edit]

Might be interesting:

A coastwatcher of a different sort was Ross Webber, who lived alone from 1957 to 2005 on his 38-hectare Puangiangi Island, one of the three Rangitoto Islands off north-east D’Urville. Rarely without his pair of finger-worn binoculars, his reporting resulted in the thwarting of several attempts to steal tuatara off Stephens Island.


Also this bit from the same source, although it sounds ethically questionable in terms of Maori culture and animal rights as we see them today:

During World War I, a reluctant conscript hid out at what is now called Deserter Bay, a most secluded spot off East Arm. After World War II, it was revealed the Japanese had drawn up plans to use Port Hardy as its southern naval base. A quiet place maybe, but never short on intrique.
New Zealand military experts early identified Cook Strait as being the likely invasion gateway. Starting in 1942, a radar station was built in great secrecy upon Stephens Island. Barracks were constructed, on the long floor of which tuatara were raced. Locals could not help but notice the daily semaphore lights twinkling towards Patuki. Coastwatchers set up in isolated bays. Local members of the Women’s Division of Federated Farmers made sure they stayed well fed. (talk) 16:18, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

Possibly useful[edit]

  • Wright, Kevin DVM. 1994. "Tuataras." Vol.2, No.1. Reptiles magazine. Fancy Publications. Irvine, California.

Samsara (talk  contribs) 08:11, 5 February 2008 (UTC)


Anyone know where they are located besides New Zealand? I found one in Africa on a trip, in Nigera. I wonder if this is possible? User: Demonteenager

If you mean you found it in the wild, you're almost certainly mistaken. They haven't been introduced to any other country, and Nigeria is especially unlikely since tuatara are adapted to a mild climate (temperatures over 28°C are generally fatal to them). -- Avenue (talk) 21:17, 14 February 2008 (UTC)
To discuss the superficial similarity to various lizards is still on the todo list. (talk) 14:34, 19 April 2008 (UTC)

Don't move the page.[edit]

Please don't move the pageDemonteenager> TheLightElf (talk) 19:19, 29 February 2008 (UTC)

Other Picture?[edit]

What happened to the newer picture on it? I thought it was a better shot then the current one. IF anyone has it...please put it back up there. Anyoe else aggre?TheLightElf (talk) 12:40, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

To be used for labelling and maybe as additional information[edit]


Record Speed In Evolution[edit]

New Scientist released an article about a record speed of evolution found in the tuatara. Since I don't know as much about the animal, I'll leave it up to you guys if you want to put something on the page about it.Xe7al (talk) 00:29, 31 March 2008 (UTC)


There is clearly a resistance to using the word "reptile" in this article, and I understand why, since reptiles are paraphyletic. However, the lede should be accessible to the general public, and I believe that most people have an intuitive understanding of what a reptile is, but far fewer have such an understanding of "amniote". I note that the articles on lizard, snake, and turtle all start with "X are reptiles", and crocodile also has such a sentence in the first paragraph. I think the attitude should be reserved for the reptile article, and kept out of this one.-gadfium 05:26, 19 April 2008 (UTC)

I disagree. Maybe list both and at the very least clean up and fix amniote so the confused unwashed masses can get a clear understanding of it and not be treated to an article that looks like crap from the lede on this one. Then purge the tuatara pics from the taxo box on the reptile page.--Mike - Μολὼν λαβέ 05:46, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
Well, why don't we clean the other one up first then? As I said in my comment below, if not including the term "reptile" and explaining why it's rubbish is going to lead to perpetual edit wars, we may have to discuss it, even though doing so is outside the scope of the article, meanwhile cursing the people who promised us stable versions and never delivered. PS: I saw your comments here and at PR after I reverted, so excuse the edit summaries. I see now that you do understand what the problem is. (talk) 14:33, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
re Gadfium: You're committing a logical flaw when you say that because the other articles use "reptile", this article must do so. (talk) 15:33, 19 April 2008 (UTC)

When I read the article yesterday, I saw that tuatara are related to snakes and lizards. However there was no explicit statement that they are reptiles, hence I was unsure. I looked at the "Reptile" article, and the representative picture is a tuatara! So I added the statement. Axl (talk) 09:13, 19 April 2008 (UTC)

Why is "amniote" a more helpful description than "reptile"? Axl (talk) 09:16, 19 April 2008 (UTC)

Because "amniote" is biologically meaningful. "Reptile" is a polyphyletic taxon, which is a technical term for "ill-defined". It means it refers to a branch on the tree of life with some bits conveniently left off. Reptile is a term that stems from a time when it was not appreciated that birds (Latin "Aves") belong in the same group as squamates, crocodilians, etc. To continue to use it is to promote ignorance, and defeats the very purpose of an encyclopaedia, which is intended to be a source of learning, and to increase understanding. It is my point of view that this explanation does not belong in the scope of this article, but it seems we have no choice to include it in every single article about an animal formerly referred to as a "reptile", to ensure that this circumstance becomes sufficiently widely known to avoid edit wars in future. If people are unhappy with the term amniote, calling it a diapsid is a good alternative. Diapsida is another monophyletic taxon that contains a smaller (sub-)branch of the tree. (talk) 14:21, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
Well, good luck with your article. I need to go feed my reptiles. You might want to straighten out the Berlin Zoo[7], those dumbasses call them lizards.--Mike - Μολὼν λαβέ 15:56, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
I've removed mention of both amniote and reptile to mention tuataras as sphenodontians. bibliomaniac15 19:25, 19 April 2008 (UTC)

Reference material for this discussion: Phylogenetic nomenclature#Lack of obligatory_ranks. (talk) 12:43, 22 April 2008 (UTC)

"Diapsid" is no more helpful to me than "amniote". I would like to think that I am I representative of the "general reader" when reading this zoological article. The anonymous users above bemoan the lack of education among us general readers. I would have found the term "reptile" helpful. Axl (talk) 15:01, 22 April 2008 (UTC)

I will personally say now that Wikipedia guidelines encourage people to use common terms, and that banning a commonly used word with a a fairly uniform meaning just because it does not refer to a formal, rigidly defined scientific concept is asinine. Saying that the 'Tuatara is a Reptile' is not equivalent to saying that Class Reptilia is a good, commonly accepted Monophyletic class, anymore than saying that 'a Lungfish is a fish' is disputing that they are probably more closely related to amphibians than they are to sharks. Saying that the Tuatara is a Reptile does provide more information than 'the Tuatara is an Amniote', because the word Amniote means nothing to most people. JamesFox (talk) 21:14, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

It seems to me that this argument could easily have been avoided if everyone here had agreed to follow a single taxonomy for reptile/amniota articles. Two years ago we had a discussion about this on the WP:AAR talk page, the result of which was the decision to use the AMNH taxonomy for amphibians and ITIS for snakes. I don't know about the amphibians, but the advantage for the snake articles has been that all such taxonomic arguments have been short. For instance, if anyone were ever to start up a debate about whether snakes were reptiles or amniotes, all we'd have to do is look to ITIS and see that it considers them to be part of the class Reptilia. Why not do the same thing here? --Jwinius (talk) 23:59, 25 April 2008 (UTC)

yeah, the hemming and hawing here on how tuataras should not be represented as reptiles is not very convincing. for those defending this: i consider myself a cladist too (yes, birds are pretty much glorified reptiles), but that doesn't mean we should turn wikipedia into a compendium of cutting edge scientific articles. it's an encyclopedia for popular consumption; it should represent the current state of the science, and not what a particular cadre of editors -- or even researchers -- argue. sure, mention and/or explain the debate but, paraphyletic or no, the layman will point to most any scaly, air-breathing tetrapod and say "reptile". consider them in a more narrow fashion if you wish (i know archosaurs and squamates better, myself); but wikipedia's really not for trend-setting, as i see it. (also posted, more or less, at Talk:Reptile.) - Μετανοιδ (talk, email) 04:29, 14 August 2008 (UTC)

Honestly, the avoidance of "reptile" is just silly, for several reasons.

Firstly, this is an encyclopedia, not Copeia, so the vast majority of readers both lack familiarity with the term 'amniote' and will recall the traditional "5 animal groups" of fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals from elementary school biology.
Secondly, the monophyly of a taxa doesn't necessarily determine validity. "Fish", "marsupial", "reptile" - all violate the rule of monophyly, but all are just such damned useful classifications that I guarantee we will still be using them 300 years from now. Hell, "herpetiles" (or the shortened "herps") as a term for amphibians + reptiles is even more wrong, but enjoys heavy use both inside and outside of the scientific community due to simple utility.
Finally, imagine if we *did* split up what is currently recognized as "reptilia" by clade. Chances are we'd lump birds and crocs into an Archosaur class, shoehorn turtles in somewhere (or just give up in frustration and wait for a fossil that clearly shows where they came from), and leave the lepidosaurians as "reptiles" (since they are, after all, 85%+ of reptile species). This would *still* make tuataras reptiles.

If this was the turtle article, I could see the issue, because frankly their taxonomy will not be resolved until we find transitional fossils linking them to another group. But to dispute the application of 'reptile' to a sister taxon to the clade representing the lion's share of reptile diversity is ridiculous. Mokele (talk) 17:44, 16 August 2008 (UTC)

Skull diagram - use complete version please[edit]

I believe the idea was that the diagram would be labelled using the other one as a template, rather than replacing the high quality complete version with a more cruddy attempt that is missing the lower jaw, i.e. the unique dentition. It shouldn't take too much time to do this. Papa Lima Whiskey (talk) 23:37, 19 April 2008 (UTC)

If you need to go back to the original, it's here. Papa Lima Whiskey (talk) 23:42, 19 April 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure what you mean by using a template. Templates and images are two different things. Another image could be uploaded. bibliomaniac15 00:26, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
You use the labels on the flawed version to make labels for the good version. (talk) 10:06, 20 April 2008 (UTC)


I'm seriously concerned about your editing, especially when you put the coin image back in....note the discussion about why it can't be in there is the first thing on this talk page. Please familiarize yourself with the history of this article before you edit more. I'm not convinced that your content changes are helpful. (though most of the formatting ones are fine) But then again you delinked a red link for the southland museum and art gallery when we had an article on WP for it already under a different capitalization...its pretty obvious you didn't make a thorough effort check to see if we did. Please be more careful. breathe | inhale 17:06, 20 April 2008 (UTC)

I've restored the map to the conservation section, as it adds significantly to the encyclopaedic value of the section. I've not modified the map at the top, but I'll put it to the masses that a lot of people may find it helpful to know where New Zealand is. Papa Lima Whiskey (talk) 19:42, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
Unwashed mass that I am, I prefer to know where they are on a world map. Maybe one that is focused on Australia and the pacific would work so people would have a good point of reference, yet the dot wouldn't be "so small"(to address that complaint). breathe | inhale 20:16, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
Sorry about the coin image. I did not check the copyright status. bibliomaniac15 21:59, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
I think it would be best if I stayed away from the article. I don't feel like I'm doing my best with this, since this is an unfamiliar article to me. I'll still watch it and copyedit when needed, but I'll withdraw from working around for now. bibliomaniac15 22:22, 20 April 2008 (UTC)
Good work on the ref formatting btw. That's really helpful. breathe | inhale 06:47, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

Lifespan: very long indeed[edit]

apparently a 111-year-old male just became a father.--Jrm2007 (talk) 06:52, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

Does anyone know how long they can live for? —Preceding unsigned comment added by MadCarbon (talkcontribs) 15:10, 5 May 2010 (UTC)

111-yo father reference[edit]

I'm tempted to restore "Lizard Love: 110-year dinosaur descendent (sic) to become daddy". CNN.  as a reference in the image caption, but tuatara are not dinosaurs, and it's also the article that has the unverified 200-year claim, so I'm now thinking I'll leave it out unless others can point to some benefit. (Meanwhile, it seems CNN have fixed the spelling mistake, assuming it was ever there.) Papa Lima Whiskey (talk; todo) 18:55, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

Photos from Southland Museum and Art Gallery[edit]

I've got a couple of photos I took last year when visiting NZ. The first one is of a display case that doesn't really work as a photo, but has some information on it that might be useful. They're not great (bad lighting), but feel free to put them in if they fit. KeresH (talk) 07:14, 11 August 2008 (UTC)

If you tag them into this category, they will magically take care of themselves. Papa Lima Whiskey (talk) 19:27, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
Sure, I can categorize them as "Sphenodontidae" (and will shortly when the Commons orphan feature is not coming up as SNAFU). Or, I could have just plunked them into the main article and let others clean up "the mess". Which is why I brought them here - to the discussion page, to give the people who are most active in the Tuatara article a "heads up" that I've just added some images that may or may not help with the main article (although someone should write something about the jaw being made up of serrated bone and not actual teeth - which is what it reads in the display photo). What I didn't expect was a flip reply. If snark was not your intention, my appologies. If it was, you might reconsider your tone of address to other people who are just trying to (imperfectly) contribute to the wiki and may not appreciate your subtle put downs.KeresH (talk) 22:02, 11 August 2008 (UTC)
English is not the only language with a Wikipedia. If you put images in the correct Commons category, people of other tongues can find them, too. Thanks for your understanding. Papa Lima Whiskey (talk) 00:54, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I'm aware that English is not the only language, in Wikipedia and in the world in general. And yes, I do try to categorize my work whenever I can. I usually only have a brief time to upload my images, so there if often a time gap between my uploading them and my searching for their proper categories (and, the "Orphan" function if frequently not working - as was the case earlier). Obviously, you and I have a different sense of what constitutes proper "netiquette" - my version apparently is much less reliant on the use of gibes. Perhaps we can leave it at that.KeresH (talk) 03:16, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
You're upset because I said "magically"? What's wrong with magic? :) Papa Lima Whiskey (talk) 08:29, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
English is a very nuanced language (and thus easy to misinterpret). As you rightly pointed out, not everyone here speaks it, or if they do speak it, understand it as a native user might. Therefore, I'd suggest a straight-forward use of it, in which potential double meanings and what might be construed as flippant remarks are best avoided. KeresH (talk) 22:44, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
I shall submit my next comments to you for prior review. Hope you don't mind the extra work. Regards, Papa Lima Whiskey (talk) 22:50, 12 August 2008 (UTC) (Oh, look, now I *was* being sarcastic - how about that?)
I'm totally with KeresH on this one. Your attitude is arrogant, condescending and just plain annoying. He responded very politely and reasonably and you responded with another snide jab. It reflects poorly on you. People shouldn't have to put up with this sort of crap on wikipedia and I do hope you will learn from the experience and be mature and polite in the future. Kotare (talk) 06:59, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

Reptiles or higher animal?[edit]

All right, you guys. Here we are again, debating on the merits of "reptile" or "higher animal." Seeing the reverts being tossed forth on both sides, I've started this section to hopefully start some discussion on this issue and make some consensus. If reverts continue to happen, I will protect the page. bibliomaniac15 04:44, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

Let's avoid wheel-warring here. If you want to re-propose your position that they should be presented as Sphenodontians, this might be a good time. If you protect the article, whichever is the disadvantaged side will point out to you that you're an involved party, and you may face further criticism as a result. I think that would be undesirable. Papa Lima Whiskey (talk) 11:01, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
I have no views on this; I do not have the knowledge to judge who is right or wrong. As for protection, the template {{Pp-dispute}} makes it clear that it is not an endorsement of the protected revision. bibliomaniac15 23:15, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
Also, let's remember that this actually happened. Don't need to re-hash everything, and maybe we can continue at the old discussion as a more constructive way forward. Papa Lima Whiskey (talk) 11:29, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
Do you mean where consensus favored reptile?--Mike - Μολὼν λαβέ 15:38, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
I certainly don't see it that way. What I do see is you calling people "dumbasses" on the Reptile talk page, in relation to this, which is such unacceptable behaviour, it's difficult for me to take any of your comments seriously. pschemp | talk 16:39, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
It was in reference to the cowardly IP sockpuppets in the above discussion. Still, no one has answered why the order directs to reptile and the article tries to deny this. Don't take me seriously, I could not care less.--Mike - Μολὼν λαβέ 16:52, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
Wow, another vicious, uncivil opinion from you. You don't deserve any answer with that attitude. There is no ban on IP's editing. The tit for tat you are engaging in by removing the Tuatara pic from Reptile just to spite the editors of this article is quite a response, along with the name calling. If you can't participate in a mature fashion, I see no reason any of your opinions should be considered here at all. pschemp | talk 18:47, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
Mike, you clearly haven't understood any of the discussion. Nobody is denying that tuatara are classified as reptiles, the problem is that reptile is an archaic, paraphyletic taxon that does not take into account evolutionary relationships as revealed by modern taxonomy and systematics that now emphasise the importance of monophyletic groups. Hence calling anything a reptile is misleading and confusing to anyone trying to understand biology. Papa Lima Whiskey (talk) 21:16, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
Read my reply to this issue earlier in the page. The short version is that 1) the INTRO is for regular folks, not systematists, 2) the paraphyly is irrelevant to how actually *useful* "reptilia" is (remember, taxonomy was invented for the purpose of communication, not classification) and 3) even if we *did* reclassify everything monophyleticaly, the "revised reptilia" would probably still include the tuatara, since it forms a monophyletic clade with squamates (which in turn represent some 95% of 'reptiles'). Mokele (talk) 21:40, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
Why should the average Joe care for an antiquated systematists' opinion? In God's sweet name, please give the average Joe some accurate information. Papa Lima Whiskey (talk) 13:37, 15 September 2008 (UTC)
First, consider the following example explanation: "Osteopilus is a genus of hylid neobatrachians characterized by elongate tibiofibulae and exceptional saltation". It's a 100% accurate description, but it conveys absolutely NOTHING to a reader who doesn't already know all of those words. Have you ever taught? I mean at the university level, in any capacity? You don't just start spewing huge technical words, or if you do, you get awful reviews and your students learn nothing. You start simple, with things they already understand. You describe a snake as a 'limbless reptile', and *then* tell them that there are other species which are also limbless, and here's how to tell them apart. You don't just throw them in the deep end right away.
Second, where are you getting this "antiquated" crap from? Do you have any idea how many modern scientific papers still use "reptile"? Shit, one of the 3 biggest herpetology groups is the Society for the Study of REPTILES and Amphibians. Not to mention that "herpetology" is still used, and the taxonomic basis for that is even worse than "reptile". The plain fact is that "reptiles" is a valid taxon simply because that is what scientists use.Mokele (talk) 13:59, 15 September 2008 (UTC)
Wikipedia is not a textbook. If that's what you want to write, please move along to wikibooks. Instead, in an ideal world, Wikipedia is a source of accurate information. Papa Lima Whiskey (talk) 22:03, 15 September 2008 (UTC)
Ok, you want accurate, find me any reputable peer-review journal article which classifies tuataras as anything but a reptile. You know, the counter the over 1000 peer-review articles I just pulled up on quick searches of "tuatara + reptile" and "tuatara + reptilia". You want accurate information, there is only one source: the peer-review literature. Now put up or shut up. Mokele (talk) 03:12, 16 September 2008 (UTC)
At least try to follow the discussion. Thanks. Papa Lima Whiskey (talk) 00:07, 17 September 2008 (UTC)
I really do not see why amniote and reptile could not be mentioned in the same paragraph. Maybe that's the compromise that's needed if you're not denying that they are reptiles.--Mike - Μολὼν λαβέ 22:38, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
No matter what gets used ("reptile" vs "sphenodontian" vs "basal diapsid"), mentioning it as an amniote would be redundant. If you can find a way to work it in that doesn't sound awkward, go ahead, but that won't solve the dispute. The dispute centers around whether they are "reptiles" or not, with amniote simply being the broadest possible category (which some, like myself, feel is uninformative and confusing to the general audience). A sentence with both in will effectively be on 'my side' by calling them reptiles. 23:31, 12 September 2008 (UTC)~
Actually no. The dispute is about whether "reptile" is a useful thing to put in an article. Thanks for keeping your focus. Papa Lima Whiskey (talk) 13:37, 15 September 2008 (UTC)

Ok, one thing that should be indisputable here: "Higher animal" is among the worst possible options. It has no scientific or taxonomic validity, it's completely uninformative, and it perpetuates the ancient misconception of a "scala naturae". If we're going to have this debate, "amniote", "sphenodontian" or even "basal diapsid" should be used as the alternative to "reptile" by those who have a problem with paraphyletic taxa, but not "higher animal". Mokele (talk) 23:31, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

"Basal" is not a particularly useful word either, because all it means is that it's talking about a group that has radiated less, or that's experienced greater extinction than its sister clades. "Sphenodontian" is a phrase that for most people will not be descriptive because understanding it will require reading the article in the first place. "Animal" seems to be one of the few options left, given the various proposed solutions that various people have now disagreed with. Otherwise, I see "vertebrate" and "tetrapod" as remaining possibilities. These should be reasonably familiar to most people.
Repeating parts of paraphyly will not be a lasting solution, because subsequent editors will rightly feel that discussing paraphyly is beyond the scope of *this* article. Papa Lima Whiskey (talk) 13:37, 15 September 2008 (UTC)
You clearly don't know what you are talking about. Do you even *have* a degree in herpetology, or biology? "Basal" does NOT imply *ANYTHING* about diversity. Basal simply means that an animal is a primitive form of the clade - Enantiornithines would have been called "basal" even in the times when they vastly ournumbered the Neornithines, because they displayed more primitive traits. Hell, you could easily call most of mammals basal to whales.
The plain fact is that a tuatara is a reptile, and that description is useful. You harp on about monophyly, but can you give me a good reason *why* a paraphyletic clade should be discarded when it CLEARLY is more descriptive and informative than any monophyletic alternative? Especially when that paraphyletic clade continues to be used in the scientific literature even today, precisely because it's so damned useful? Mokele (talk) 13:59, 15 September 2008 (UTC)
 :) It's not about degrees here. I don't really like intellectual pissing contests, but I will put you right, as a doubtless unrequited (irrequitable?) freebie. If you dispute that basal is a description of the surrounding diversity, there is no species that is more basal than any other (unless you want to claim that basal is a description of the speed of molecular evolution, in which case, that has been disproven for the case of the tuatara in the paper cited in the article). It is now widely accepted in evolutionary biology that "primitive" is a misnomer in the vast majority of cases, because species do not cease to evolve as was claimed in some 19th (!) and early 20th century literature. Papa Lima Whiskey (talk) 22:01, 15 September 2008 (UTC)
You're so committed to being right that you can't even take the time to see even wikipedia's own article on "basal clade" contradicts you and supports me. One clade is termed basal to another if it is a sister taxon which displays the plesiomorphic state. For instance, monitors are basal to snakes because they are a sister taxon which has fewer derived traits and more traits in common with the shared ancestor (limbs, etc.). You want to dispute me, show me peer-reviewed literature using your definition. Anything less is worthless and will be deleted immediately. Mokele (talk) 03:12, 16 September 2008 (UTC)
Mokele, keep it civil. Snarky edit summaries [8] and insults are neither needed, nor useful. If you can't make an argument without resorting to such things, you don't need to be here. pschemp | talk 09:00, 16 September 2008 (UTC)

Mokele, if as you say, Sauropsid is "no different than" reptile, you shouldn't have any problem with it. It is of course different than reptile but you can't seem to find a logical point of view. Sauropsid is an excellent choice as a result for this debate. It is monophyletic, it is more descriptive than reptile, it wikilinks to reptile where the difference is explained for the common man, it helps educate people that reptilia has some serious problems when it comes to modern biology, it is supported in the literature and it follows Benton's taxonomy, which is what all the other "reptile" articles use and what the Tree of Life Project decided to use. Other people here have worked to find an acceptable solution. You have just blindly and stubbornly reverted and that's not appropriate behaviour. pschemp | talk 16:31, 16 September 2008 (UTC)

Welcome to Missing the Point 101, starring Pschemp and PapaLima! The POINT, which you have completely missed is that an intro which nobody can understand is worthless. It explains nothing. Given that "sauropsid" and "reptile" both work, and yet one is understandable to the common reader, it's clearly apparent that the one which is understandable should be preferred. Are you *trying* to make wikipedia less readable?
I've reverted it because of the irrational desire to remove a perfectly descriptive term which remained in place for a long time and which is used in the PEER REVIEWED SCIENTIFIC LITERATURE to refer to this animal.
Give me a coherent reason why the term "reptile" is good enough for OVER 1000 scientific articles on this animal, but not good enough for wikipedia. I'm not the one being stubborn; I simply see no reason why "reptile" should be changed in the intro, given it's superior understandability and the fact that the precise phylogenetic position of these organisms is discussed in the very first section, complete with a cladogram.
Convince me that you know better than the scientific community, with citations of the peer review literature to back your position up, and then we'll talk. Until then, it remains "reptile", and any further changes without further discussion will be reported to the system administrators as vandalism. My patience for fools has long since been exhausted by you two. Mokele (talk) 17:27, 16 September 2008 (UTC)
Resorting to threats now? None of our admins would call this vandalism, and you don't really understand how wikipedia works if you think it is. pschemp | talk 20:13, 16 September 2008 (UTC)
All the other participants in this debate can agree that the most recent newly proposed version is an improvement (also see [9]). I have proposed several versions, and instead of discussing sensibly, you have accused me of wanting to be right, yet it is you who cannot move forward to a new revision of this page (again, I proposed several, either one of which I would have basically been happy with). I think it has to stop somewhere, even for you. Papa Lima Whiskey (talk) 17:48, 16 September 2008 (UTC)
While my preference is for reptile; I think Sauropsid is a good compromise. It redirects to reptile so that when the confused reader sees this term and clicks on it he goes to reptile which is better than going to amniote and walking away thinking..."Oh those lizardy things are just like mammals".--Mike - Μολὼν λαβέ 17:59, 16 September 2008 (UTC)
This is an acceptable compromise for me too. Agree its much better than amniote, and importantly leads to a page where the whole Taxonomic debate is laid out, allowing people to educate themselves. Certainly the modern peer reviewed material reports Tuatara as being in class Sauropsida so there is nothing wrong with calling them Sauropsids.pschemp | talk 20:13, 16 September 2008 (UTC)
So, clarity is irrelevant? I should go and change the description of dog from "mammal" to "synapsid"? Mike has clearly stated the preference for "reptile", even if he's willing to accept "sauropsid", so that leaves us at 50/50. Given that NO BASIS has been given for the preference of sauropsid to the clearer, more easily understood term, I fail to see why it should not remain the default. And pschemp, you can find plenty of outright references to tuataras as "reptiles" or "class reptilia" in current scientific articles, so there is no basis for preference of "sauropsid" over "reptile" in that respect either. Mokele (talk) 22:21, 16 September 2008 (UTC)
That's not how the numbers work. 3 of us will accept sauropsid. Only two of you will accept reptile. pschemp | talk 04:27, 17 September 2008 (UTC)
Has this turned into a mere numbers game? bibliomaniac15 04:30, 17 September 2008 (UTC)
You can thank Mokele for that. As he is unwilling to consider even the smallest compromise, that is all that is left to show him. pschemp | talk 04:46, 17 September 2008 (UTC)
Mammals are monophyletic. Papa Lima Whiskey (talk) 00:02, 17 September 2008 (UTC)

Is it standard policy to deliberately select the most obscure possible wording for an intro, when a common and easily understood equivalent exists? Mokele (talk) 22:21, 16 September 2008 (UTC)

Naming - let's try to settle this[edit]

Ok, I think we need to roll this back and take it from the top. Tempers are flaring, including mine, over what should be a simple matter, and for my part, I apologize. I realize I'm not exactly the easiest person to deal with, but let's try to clear the air and resolve this. And for what it's worth, it's not just us - this entire discussion has already taken place once. So, why don't we try to lay things out and decide once and for all. I think part of the problem is we've lost sight of the underlying issue, namely the importance of easy understanding vs. accuracy. Nobody here disputes that there are a myriad of terms which can refer to the tuatara: "reptile", "amniote", "diapsid", "basal diapsid", "sphenodont", "Sauropsid", etc. I further think that we've resolved the issue of paraphyly being a problem - we're using ITIS classification, and "reptilia/sauropsida" is recognized in both ITIS and the scientific literature, regardless of the paraphyletic nature of the clade. This, IMHO, leaves only the issue of communication. Which term is best for the intro? Personally, I favor reptile for the following reasons:

1) It's clear and understandable to most readers
2) Other, potentially less-clear terms, would either confuse the reader or have them click the link, which, while accurate, would disrupt the reading of the introductory sentence. To me, that seems like a rather serious impediment to readability.
3) Other terms do not contain any more information. They are either taxonomically equivalent or nearly so.
4) Further details on the animal and it's exact phylogeny are laid out in the next section.

Ok, let's try to resolve this thing without killing each other. What term do you favor, why do you think it's preferable, and what impact will it have on the article regarding clarity, accuracy, and information content, especially considering that this is an introductory sentence. Mokele (talk) 22:39, 16 September 2008 (UTC)

Just a comment on this issue--Editors on science articles, myself included, often forget how close we are to the material and how much lingo an average person would never understand, take one look at and walk away to find a source they can comprehend. I don't think we should dumb things down but we should lead the reader in gently to a lingo-heavy article. Use broad, general, easy to understand terms in the intro and then delve into specifics in the body. Referring to a tuatara or crocodile or ostrich in the intro as a "sauropsid" serves no purpose other than to demonstrate how enlightened the editor is to cutting edge classification schemes, and leaves the average reader completely in the dark. Reptile is fine as an informal term just as fish is. Use that in the intro text, go into detail in the classification section.
That said, a lot of the argument also smacks of original research, or preferencing some papers over others. A Google scholar search for "tuatara reptile" provides plenty of papers using the term reptile from the past few years, so it clearly has not been completely abandoned in the technical lit, and pretending it has here would be inappropriate. Dinoguy2 (talk) 22:43, 16 September 2008 (UTC)
I'm sorry Dinoguy, but that is not constructive. I proposed, as a compromise edit, to use the term sauropsid, because it is monophyletic. Monophyly is not negotiable for the lay person, they will get their heads completely twisted if we persist in using paraphyletic taxa, because they do not represent evolutionary relationships. It turns out that God didn't separately create these creatures in the way the scala naturae (which, btw, Mokele is also opposed to - unless speaking with two tongues) suggests: fish then amphibians then reptiles then birds then mammals. Evolution created these things roughly in a tree, and monophyletic taxa represent this accurately. This is absolutely nothing to do with showing off knowledge. The only objective is to use monophyletic taxa. Papa Lima Whiskey (talk) 23:38, 16 September 2008 (UTC)
I'm sorry, if contemporary sources are still using "reptile," you are wrong. Not to mention the fact that Reptilia has been defined monophyletically a few times, and every time it has included tuatara. There's a difference between reflecting current science and reflecting only the science you wish were universally accepted. That's the definition of bias. As long as the term is still active in published lit, in an encyclopedia, it is extremely disingenuous to pretend it is not, or to presumptively declare the papers that do use it obsolete by their omission. That's fine for a Knoll, but not for a Wiki. Here, our objective is not monophyly. Our objective is simply to summarize published literature. Dinoguy2 (talk) 00:02, 17 September 2008 (UTC)
Mokele has persistently tried to inject the rumour that I'm denying the placement of tuatara in Reptilia - nothing could be further from the truth. I will repeat again. Monophyly is everything. If you want people to understand evolution (and oh, do we have edit wars over creationism) then paraphyly is the intellectual equivalent of shooting yourself in the foot. The importance for taxa to be monophyletic by your very example (creation of Sauropsida, Reptilia being redefined) is well recognised in taxonomy. I believe that general, evolutionary biology trumps specific niches where the message hasn't arrived yet (as Mokele is doing his best to paint herpetology). Papa Lima Whiskey (talk) 00:13, 17 September 2008 (UTC)
Why is monopyly everything? Yes, I know it emphasizes common ancestry, but it also fails to account for extreme divergence of one lineage from the rest of the taxa in the clade. Consider "Sauropsid" vs "reptile". If you tell me that you're studying a desert-dwelling Sauropsid, I'll have no idea what to expect, but if you tell me you're studying a desert-dwelling reptile, and I'll be able to make all sorts of "first approximations" about the likely activity, diet, thermal biology, mating system, even size of the organism. Why? Because the group "reptiles" all share a large number of plesiomorpic traits (such as ectothermy and carnivory) which makes them more similar to each other than they are to birds. You can't just jump on the "monopyly bandwagon" and go to town without serious thought about how well it applies to various situations. By analogy, consider "species" - there's technical definition of "two populations which don't or can't exchange genes", but in real, actual biology, it's nowhere near that clean cut. Plenty of species have hybird zones, or intermittently hybridize under certain conditions (shit, I've even seen two separate instances of cross-GENUS hybrids), especially in plants and asexual species. You can't just take a definition or concept you read in a general-audience book and rigidly apply it without regard to context, diversity, or the current scientific consensus.Mokele (talk) 02:08, 17 September 2008 (UTC)
And just to squash that idea completely, you know as well as I that our reptile article is not written in a monophyletic way ("are air-breathing, cold-blooded vertebrates that have skin covered in scales as opposed to hair or feathers"). Papa Lima Whiskey (talk) 00:18, 17 September 2008 (UTC)

Dinoguy, the claim that ordinary people are too uneducated to understand Sauropsid is both wrong and a disservice to the readers of the encyclopedia. This is exactly what wikilinks are are for, so people can click on terms they want to learn more about. No one is arguing that Tuatara aren't reptiles. The problem is that the definition of reptile is not the most useful term due to its mish mash of inclusions. Sauropsid on the other hand is more specific, and thus more useful. If just the term reptile is used, no casual reader will ever be prompted to dig deep enough to realize that there are serious problems with the old class due to advances in evolutionary biology. It's not like the term Sauropsid was invented yesterday, or even 20 years ago. Its been around for a long time. Wikipedia is here to capture the sum of human knowledge. If class definitions are changing, such as the old Reptilia, our information should reflect that. Ignoring such things is making the assumption that readers are too stupid to understand current issues, and that is quite wrong. pschemp | talk 04:42, 17 September 2008 (UTC)

Oh and I am the average reader because I don't have a degree in Biology. So you can all stop trying to guess what the average reader would or would not be confused about. I am not confused at all by the term Sauropsid. Rather I find it intriging and useful. I also find the assumptions that anyone without a degree is unable to understand what is going on without using the word "reptile" to be insulting. All anyone wil even half a notion about what a reptile is has to do is look at the picture and the answer is clear. During the time this article used the word amniote, there was no giant influx of confused average joes, wandering lost in the forest of articles becouse the term reptile wasn't there. That's proof of the average reader's behaviour. (And contrary to your belief Mokele, there is no requirement on WP that people have degrees in specific subjects to edit them. Nor does having a degree make your opinion count more. So don't even go down that road.) pschemp | talk 05:32, 17 September 2008 (UTC)

Are you *seriously* telling me that if you go up to 20 people in the street and ask them what a sauropsid is, they'll all know? Shit, I'll bet half my department doesn't know (especially the ecologists), and I'm at an Ivy-league school.
And as for insulting the average reader's intelligence, you're the one who thinks they're too stupid to read more than one sentence of the article - a full explanation of their taxonomy is the FIRST SECTION, complete with a cladogram.
The fact that wikipedia did not explode due to the use of amniote is irrelevant - there is little to no feedback unless the user wants to actively edit. How can you know how many people left to google a description elsewhere or just thought "what's an amniote? looks like a lizard to me." and didn't edit? You have no actual indication of user satisfaction at any level but the most coarse and uniformative. Mokele (talk) 11:43, 17 September 2008 (UTC)
So far, all I've heard is an objection to the paraphyletic nature of reptilia (which is irrelevant, since it was long since agreed to use ITIS classification for reptiles, which includes "reptilia"), the claim that "sauropsid" is widely known (clearly false), and the claim that it can be just clicked on to understand. This last claim has actual substance, so let's examine it.
The wikilinks in an article are one of the great strengths of wikipedia, but over-reliance on them is the biggest weakness of many articles. If a reader can't make it through a sentence without reading 3 other articles, there's a problem with clarity, doubly so if it's the first sentence. Wikilinks are not a substitute for readability, and if something can be made readable, it should be.
Second, the irony is that clicking on Sauropsid takes you straight to the reptile page, meaning that unless you want to edit the redirect, most people who click on it will simply assume it's a synonym of "reptile" and wonder why we didn't just say "reptile". In fact, there is no reference anywhere in wikipedia to sauropsids including bird, just as a synonym of "reptile".
If we use "reptile", some users will just assume it means what they think, and never investigate further. Others will read further in the article and find the section explaining their phylogeny. If we use "sauropsid", some users will ignore it in favor of the picture (which they will mentally class as a lizard), others will click on it, find that it goes to reptile, wonder why we didn't use that term, and just hit the back button and keep reading the tuatara article, and finally some will read further in the reptile article and learn about their paraphyly, which they could have also learned from the tuatara article. The only difference I see is that "reptile" involves less clicking, less distractions, and superior readability with absolutely no change in information content.Mokele (talk) 11:43, 17 September 2008 (UTC)
It doesn't matter people if the street know what Sauropsid is. There are LOTS of things on Wikipedia that people on the street don't know, but that doesn't mean we limit ourselves to only writing about or using terms that people on the street use. The point is to educate, to capture knowledge, not ignore it because we think people on the street are uneducated and can't be educated. pschemp | talk 12:42, 17 September 2008 (UTC)
And how, exactly do you educate? I don't know if you've ever taught students, but you do not start by just throwing out complex terms and relying upon them to look the terms up. No, you start with the simple, the familiar, and then you build upon it. IMHO, that's what having the intro say "reptile" does - it starts people off on the right track, and then, as they read the article, they get a deeper, more complete understanding of the phylogenetic position of the tuatara. My objection has never, *ever* been to the use of "sauropsid" in the article as a whole, but rather in the first sentence. You start by saying that it's a reptile, then explain what a reptile is, what clade sauropsida is, and where the tuatara fits into it all (which is accomplished in the section on taxonomy and evolution). My point is not about the entire body of the article, only how to start it, and IME, you don't throw people straight into the deep end with good results. Mokele (talk) 13:29, 17 September 2008 (UTC)
How nice of you to ask. I do in fact teach, and I don't coddle my students, nor give them outdated information because I think the real thing will confuse them. And, they do quite well. Science should spark inquiry, not rest on outdated information. The fact remains that reptile does not fit with modern evolutionary biology. Now if you'd like to talk about average Joe, he indeed thinks he knows what a reptile is already, but most likely is not even close to up to date. If you use reptile, the term will be ignored, and it's problematic usage strengthened. Everyone thinks they already know what a reptile is and allowing readers to continue down that path is a disservice to them. pschemp | talk 14:37, 17 September 2008 (UTC)
So you never even mention the term "reptile", even to point out that you disagree with it? More importantly, I'd love to know where you get the idea of "outdated information" - show me any scientific paper which seriously suggests the abandonment of "reptile". You seem to believe every conceptual definition must be applied absolutely without any regard to context, which, while it may be true in fields such as physics, quickly falls apart when faced with the diversity of biology. Mokele (talk) 00:33, 18 September 2008 (UTC)
The linking is not the real problem here. The article could be easily created or revised, or an appropriate section link added. I do think, though, that your recognition argument is not a strong argument for an article that has a picture at the top. Papa Lima Whiskey (talk) 12:46, 17 September 2008 (UTC)
While the picture helps, remember that, to the untrained eye, salamanders and lizards are hard to tell apart. This article should be constructed as to be understandable to all levels, from Joe Bloggs to academic herpetologists, and trust me, people do have trouble with even what we would consider obvious distinctions.Mokele (talk) 13:29, 17 September 2008 (UTC)

One other point needs to be addressed: consistency. As far as I can tell, every single other article on Wikipedia uses "reptile" instead of "sauropsid", and none of the other pages on the reptile orders use the term. Why should tuatara be singled out? WP:Consistency clearly favors "reptile" as is, and frankly, I think you would be extremely hard-pressed to justify changing every single instance of "reptile" in Wikipedia to "sauropsid".Mokele (talk) 13:29, 17 September 2008 (UTC)

Change has to start somewhere. Papa Lima Whiskey (talk) 14:26, 17 September 2008 (UTC)
Whatever happened to "No original research"? Unless you can find a scientific paper seriously suggesting the elimination of "reptile" (as opposed to its constant and persistent use in modern scientific literature), then this suggestion is baseless.Mokele (talk) 00:33, 18 September 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure I care for the latest revision. It seems like a whole paragraph that's tapdancing around the issue. That sort of detail belongs in the body of the article, but not in the LEAD which is supposed to summarize the main points. The wording of the first sentence sounds particularly awkward. My preference is for reptile, and I am willing to compromise to satisfy both sides, however this prose neither informs nor engages the reader due to its awkwardness.--Mike - Μολὼν λαβέ 18:50, 17 September 2008 (UTC)
I agree. It sounds like something from a book for grade school kids. Either we go with reptile, or we go with sauropsid. I've seen a few scientific papers mentioning "sauropsid reptile," but I'm not sure how useful it is as a compromise. bibliomaniac15 22:43, 17 September 2008 (UTC)
I considered "sauropsid reptile", but it seems the wrong way around (if all reptiles are sauropsids, then it's redundant). Unfortunately, "reptilian sauropsid" sounds even more awkward. Mokele (talk) 00:33, 18 September 2008 (UTC)

One key issue here is the validity of "reptile" as a term. Given that it continues to be used in the scientific literature, unless a peer-review article to the contrary can be cited, the claim that "reptile" is somehow outdated, inferior or otherwise undesirable is without basis. Mokele (talk) 00:33, 18 September 2008 (UTC)

How about we put this to a more general vote over here? --Jwinius (talk) 00:00, 18 September 2008 (UTC)

Seconded. Mokele (talk) 00:33, 18 September 2008 (UTC)

After the vote[edit]

Mokele, your new intro looks okay, but is it still consistent with the reference that follows? If not, remove it and preferably replace it with your own reference. Also, don't forget the taxobox. --Jwinius (talk) 12:55, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

I've added the reference, but I'd prefer not to mess with the taxobox myself - I'm not good at the markup stuff, and invariably screw something up. Mokele (talk) 20:20, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
Okay, I've made the necessary changes. I also removed your ITIS reference, since it's use is really limited to the pages for Reptilia (Reptile) and Rhynchocephalia (Sphenodontia -- another article that now requires some modification) as per the recent WP:AAR taxonomic decision. --Jwinius (talk) 23:30, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

In line with the new, apparently agreed-upon taxonomy in WP:RAA, can we get a bot to change Class (Reptile|Sauropsida) fields to Class: (Reptile|Reptilia)? Dinoguy2 (talk) 23:32, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

That would be a Bot requests. Sounds like a good idea, except that there might be an even better solution. Actually, this was something Papa Lima Whiskey mentioned: use a nested template (or templates) within the taxobox for the higher level taxonomy (or taxonomies) used in WP:AAR so that the next time we feel like making any changes to the article templates, we will only have to do this in one place once. This can be very useful because, even if we don't ever again want change Reptilia back to Sauropsida, for example, we can use it to change stuff like [[Reptile|Reptilia]] to [[Reptilia]]. Or -- although I don't yet know if this can be done -- if it's possible to use a single nested template to define more than one taxon within the taxobox, then we would also be able to use it to add or remove higher taxons as we see fit! So, these options should be looked into first. --Jwinius (talk) 02:27, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

Image also on BBC news [10][edit]

What exactly does this mean? Did BBC news also get the image from flickr?- Moshe Constantine Hassan Al-Silverburg | Talk 19:30, 26 January 2009 (UTC)

I suppose you mean this article and this image. The image is licensed as attribution only, which allows us to use it. I don't see BBC attributing the picture though. The media is not very good at grasping the concept of free licenses. bibliomaniac15 00:02, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
Actually moving the mouse over the BBC image I see author attribution. But you've right to suggest in the caption would be better. XLerate (talk) 00:23, 28 January 2009 (UTC)
Ah, yes, it's in the image properties. bibliomaniac15 02:30, 28 January 2009 (UTC)

How long can Tuataras get?[edit]

How long can Tuataras get? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:05, 16 June 2009 (UTC)

GA Reassessment[edit]

This discussion is transcluded from Talk:Tuatara/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the reassessment.

GA Sweeps: Kept[edit]

As part of the WikiProject Good Articles, we're doing Sweeps to go over all of the current GAs and see if they still meet the GA criteria. I went through the article and made various changes, please look them over. I believe the article currently meets the criteria and should remain listed as a Good Article. Altogether the article is well-written and is still in great shape after its passing in 2007. Continue to improve the article making sure all new information is properly sourced and neutral. It would be beneficial to update the access dates for all of the sources. If you have any questions, let me know on my talk page and I'll get back to you as soon as I can. I have updated the article history to reflect this review. --Happy editing! Nehrams2020 (talkcontrib) 00:33, 29 June 2009 (UTC)


In the intro to the article it should be mentioned the morphology behind their classification separately from other diapsids as well as a SHORT etymology of the name. Other anatomical features and extant information such as During routine maintenance work at Karori Sanctuary etc should be shunted down to it's proper section in the article. Intro should not be larger than other sections in the article... (talk) 07:49, 9 April 2010 (UTC)

The tuatara has been protected by law since 1895[edit]

"The tuatara has been protected by law since 1895[9][10] (the second species," I believe this should have been 1985 ?????? Jimbellofbelmont (talk) 22:31, 19 July 2011 (UTC)

Why do you believe that? 1895 is correct. I don't know the specific Act involved, but a relevant quote from Towns et al (2001) is: "When its present recovery plan was complete, tuatara had already received the benefits of almost 100 years of strict protection. However, the decline in populations of tuatara between 1895 and 1984 clearly demonstrated that protection without identification and resolution of agents of decline (Caughley, 1994) can result in a sinking lid for the species (Daugherty et al, 1992)." --Avenue (talk) 23:59, 11 March 2012 (UTC)

Is this useful?[edit]


Amandajm (talk) 02:55, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

Yes, thanks. Leadwind (talk) 03:09, 9 January 2014 (UTC)

Brothers island tuatara[edit]

can you please add a pic of the Brothers Island Tuatara please. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:52, 23 May 2013 (UTC)

requesting details[edit]

1. Is there documentation on the process in which the rats were eradicated? 2. While they are of course currently protected, is there any pet-store trade going on for these animals? Perhaps bred in captivity? HammerFilmFan (talk) 13:52, 1 July 2013 (UTC)

One species, not two[edit]

S. guntheri was sunk back into S. punctatus back in 2010. Two of the authors of the 2010 paper were on the orig 1990 paper which separated them; abstract - . (talk) 03:07, 11 July 2013 (UTC)

The article is certainly a bit confusing with the two species / one species thing. It looks like from 1990 to 2010 Brothers Island tuataras were considered a distinct species, but now tuataras are all considered to be one species. [1] I can see about five parts of the article that would need to be updated to reflect this. If no objections I'll make a few wording changes, I'm reasonably familiar with tuataras, but am not an expert. Bryndlefly (talk) 20:18, 6 February 2015 (UTC)

Either "the single species of tuatara" or "the two extant species" has to go. Which is it? Richardson mcphillips (talk) 20:23, 8 May 2017 (UTC)

Insecta in taxonomy block - please fix[edit]

Can someone fix this intervening in the Taxonomy block? Phylum: Arthropoda Class: Insecta Order: Hymenoptera Thank you — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:55, 22 September 2013 (UTC)

I don't see that incorrect info anywhere in the article. The infobox says:
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Sauropsida
Order: Rhynchocephalia
and there's no mention of Insecta in the Taxonomy and evolution section either. Neither the article nor {{Taxonomy/Sphenodon}} have been edited since your post. --Avenue (talk) 21:42, 22 September 2013 (UTC)
As the IP says, there was an error in the infobox earlier, but it seems to have been corrected now, somehow. Ghmyrtle (talk) 21:52, 22 September 2013 (UTC)
Ah, it was probably caused by this edit, which was reverted half an hour before my post. --Avenue (talk) 16:34, 24 September 2013 (UTC)


"...the family has several characteristics unique among reptiles." These characteristics are not spelled out clearly. Kortoso (talk) 21:44, 17 October 2013 (UTC)

amphibian-like locomotion?[edit]

The article says, "The tuatara is considered the most unspecialised living amniote; the brain and mode of locomotion resemble those of amphibians and the heart is more primitive than that of any other reptile.[20]" what is it about the tuatara's "locomotion" that resembles an amphibian's? This quote mentions the difference, but I can't find a description of it. Did I miss it? Leadwind (talk) 03:02, 9 January 2014 (UTC)

"Of all extant tetrapods, the parietal eye is most pronounced in the tuatara."?[edit]

"Of all extant tetrapods, the parietal eye is most pronounced in the tuatara."

Is this definitely right?

The Malagasy three-eyed lizard, Chalarodon madagascariensis, has a developed parietal eye that isn't covered by scales (see here)

Chalarodon (talk) 14:16, 24 July 2014 (UTC)

I think the issue isn't that the parietal eye is more or less obvious than other reptiles. It is that, unlike other reptiles, the Tuatara has a parietal eye with lens and retina. 'Most developed' would possibly be a better statement than 'most pronounced'.

Dinobass (talk) 23:07, 27 July 2014 (UTC)

I agree with the clarification of "developed" vs "pronounced"... but I think that the objection stills stands. The eye in C. madagascariensis has a lens and a retina, according to Brandt and to a number of flickr users (who are probably referencing the guide). Not sure where Brandt gets their cite from, but I think it may be premature to suggest that either eye is more developed than the other in the absence of a comparative study. There's relatively little literature on C. madagascariensis at present.

Chalarodon (talk) 09:27, 28 July 2014 (UTC)


The species section needs a complete rewrite as it starts with the assertion that there are two extant species, despite earlier mentions in the article that recent work has merged the two previously named "species". The section then concludes by informing the reader of the merger, thus contradicting the rest of the section while agreeing with the previous sections of the article. I imagine that this would be rather confusing for the average reader. I have not looked over the entire article, so there may be other instances of this confusion in other sections as well. --Khajidha (talk) 20:17, 28 August 2016 (UTC)

Confusing pronoun[edit]

“The tuatara Sphenodon punctatus has been protected by law since 1895.[11][12] A second species, S. guntheri, was recognised in 1989[6] but since 2009 its use has been discontinued.[13][14]”

The use of what? The species name? The law? The law in relation to the second species? This should be clarified. --X883 (talk) 00:56, 8 May 2017 (UTC)

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