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Tuatara: Volume 2, Issue 2, July 1949

To a Tuatara Alive in My Hand

To a Tuatara Alive in My Hand

Thou reptile, ancient in this land
For ages ere the Maori came;
You well deserve your zoologic fame,
For here, in all the world, you took your stand.

Resisting evolution's mighty flow,
While mammals rose and had their day,
Where once you reptiles everywhere held sway.
How, but for you, should we the Mesozoic know?

Saved from those mammals, all too predatory,
Retreating still, you now have found
Alone with friendly birds, beneath the ground,
At last, an off-shore island sanctuary.

Oh Tuatara, you may yet survive in peace,
When all man's glories and his struggles cease.

Karl P. Schmidt.

(Chicago Natural History Museum)
At Karewa Island, Bay of Plenty, N.Z.
January 28th, 1949.