Trevor H. Worthy Redirected from Trevor Worthy

Trevor Henry Worthy
Born3 January 1957
NationalityNew Zealand
Other names"Mr. Moa"
EducationUniversity of Adelaide
Known forWork on the moa
AwardsD. L. Serventy Medal
Scientific career
InstitutionsFlinders University

Trevor Henry Worthy (born 3 January 1957) is an Australia-based paleozoologist from New Zealand known for his research on moa and other extinct vertebrates.

Worthy grew up in Broadwood, Northland and went to Whangarei Boys’ High School.[1] He began his career as a largely self-taught palaeontologist, after becoming interested in fossils through caving.[2] Worthy completed his BSc and MSc at the University of Waikato, then did a second Master's degree at Victoria University of Welington.[1] In 1987 he described three new leiopelmatid frog species from cave subfossils: the Aurora frog (Leiopelma auroraensis), Markham's frog (Leiopelma markhami), and the Waitomo frog (Leiopelma waitomoensis). In the 1990s Worthy discovered several fossil bird species new to science, including the long-billed wren (Dendroscansor decurvirostris) in 1991, Scarlett's shearwater (Puffinus spelaeus) in 1991, and the Niue night heron (Nycticorax kalavikai) in 1995. In 1991 he also described the Northland skink, a fossil skink species new to science.[3]

In 1998 Worthy excavated subfossil bones in Fiji, where he found remains of the flightless Viti Levu giant pigeon (Natunaornis gigoura), the Viti Levu scrubfowl (Megapodius amissus), the Viti Levu snipe (Coenocorypha miratropica), the giant Fiji ground frog (Platymantis megabotoniviti), and the small freshwater crocodile Volia athollandersoni. The holotypes of these species were deposited in the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

For years Worthy has been involved in the excavation of Miocene fossils (the Saint Bathans Fauna) from a prehistoric lake in Central Otago, including the oldest known moa bones, the oldest tuatara bones, and the first known fossil land mammal from New Zealand.[4]

Worthy's research, based in Masterton, Nelson, and Te Papa, had been funded by grants from the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology since 1991, but in 2005 his funding was cut by the Foundation.[2] From 2005 to 2009 he was at the University of Adelaide, where he received his Ph.D. in 2008. He received a Doctor of Science from the University of Waikato in 2011.[1] He was at the University of New South Wales from 2009 to 2011, back at the University of Adelaide during 2012, and has been at Flinders University since 2013. In May 2019, he ended his 30-year research association with Te Papa at protest to the staff restructuring controversy.[5]

Worthy is author or co-author of numerous research papers about prehistoric life in New Zealand. For the book The Lost World of the Moa (2002) he and Richard Holdaway received the D. L. Serventy Medal from the Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union in 2003 for an outstanding published work about Australasian avifauna.


  1. ^ a b c "Mr Moa now Doctor of Science". News at Waikato. University of Waikato. 29 April 2011. Retrieved 7 February 2016.
  2. ^ a b Beston, Anne (9 May 2005). "Mr Moa's cash extinct". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 24 November 2011.
  3. ^ Tennyson, Alan J.D. (4 November 2009). "The origin and history of New Zealand's terrestrial vertebrates" (PDF). New Zealand Journal of Ecology (Special Issue: Feathers to Fur): 9. Retrieved 18 July 2015.
  4. ^ "Fossils reveal New Zealand's indigenous 'mouse'". New Scientist. 11 December 2006.
  5. ^ "Mr Moa scientist cuts 30-year Te Papa connection over staff treatment". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 11 April 2019.

External links

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