Anonymous asks:

I came across the story of Kupe and the giant octopus of Muturangi and find it really interesting! But I’m having a difficult time following all the (Maori?) words in the text… If you know the story, could you provide a summary of it? And is it popular or well known in New Zealand, or actually an obscure piece of folklore?

I wouldn’t say it’s obscure, but it’s not one of the stories I was taught at school; I know it because I happen to have a Maori language textbook that draws a lot of example sentences from the story.  This page should give you the gist of it.  Here’s a rudimentary glossary of words that might confuse you (note: the letters “wh” in Maori make something close to an “f” sound, so the word for octopus, wheke, is pronounced roughly like “feké”): Continue reading “Anonymous asks:”

Anonymous asks:

If Aerodactyl is from prehistoric times, then how do you think there’s a Mega Stone for the species when AZ’s ultimate weapon was fired only three thousand years ago? PS: I hope your PhD is going well!

crap I never thought of it like that

uh…

I suppose it’s possible that either the Aerodactylite results from some relict population of Aerodactyl (the anime seems to like having isolated populations of “fossil” Pokémon that turn out to be not quite extinct) or that the ancient Kalosian kingdom had some magical equivalent of the modern processes used to revive individuals of extinct Pokémon species.  But I’m kinda taking shots in the dark here.

PhD is actually kind of on hold at the moment, in favour of a year’s intensive study in Greece, with a bunch of other students at a similar point in their careers.  But yes, it is amazing.

Anonymous asks:

Do you have a favourite animal? An extant one, that is.

That’s a tough one… I had a conversation about this with Jim the Editor, whose first reaction is that my favourite animal must be cats.  My response to that was that I have friends who are cats, but that’s not the same thing as cats being my favourite animal (otherwise I’d just pick humans), and that just confused the hell out of him because Jim doesn’t really “get” pets.  I think I might go with the tuatara, which is a reptile we have in New Zealand that isn’t a lizard but looks like it should be, lives for over a hundred years, and has a secret third eye (I am not making any of this up).

Anonymous asks:

What would you study if not Classics/archaeology?

Well, when I was a kid I wanted to be a palaeontologist.  I sort of wrote that off as unrealistic when I was in high school, but actually, now that I’m a real archaeologist and dig stuff up and do proper scholarly research, honestly I do think I probably could have pulled it off if I’d kept going with biology and geology.  Evolutionary history is a fascinating rabbit hole.  I’m not sure I’d have the patience for taxonomic debates, though.  I mean, people can literally spend years arguing about whether a single jawbone represents a new species or not.