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The Unburnt Egg
The Unburnt Egg

The Unburnt Egg

More Stories of a Museum Curator


248 Pages, 5.75 x 6.75

Formats: Trade Paper, EPUB, Mobipocket

Trade Paper, $25.95 (US $25.95) (CA $31.95)

Publication Date: January 2017

ISBN 9781927249291

Rights: US, CA, CAM & SAM

Awa Press (Jan 2017)


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Museum natural history collections have been called libraries of life. Their very purpose is to help us probe, understand and enjoy the world's astonishing biodiversity. In The Unburnt Egg Brian Gill continues his spellbinding stories from more than thirty years as a curator. Some tales are so bizarre they read like fiction: a population of ship rats decimating the entire wildlife of an island and then collapsing; birds leaving their young to be raised by other birds; frogs and lizards living in trees and flying. Others reveal the painstaking detective work involved in solving mysteries presented by police, biosecurity agencies, government departments and members of the public. Frogs' legs on sale as chicken, a feather hidden in a bag of sugar, a live boa constrictor on a street in snake-free New Zealand—it's all in a day's work. Into these stories Gill weaves as fascinating a cast of characters as you are ever likely to meet.


"[Brian Gill's] undimmed passion for uncovering the truth of how our natural world functions makes the book both a hugely entertaining read and a compelling case for the value of our museums and the science they foster." —Jim Eagles, New Zealand Herald

"This book is a pleasure to read and provides a valuable insight into our natural and scientific history and into the pioneering scientists who people that history." —Leilani Walker, New Zealand Ecological Society

"A comprehensive account of the role of museums and curators . . . there are many great stories here: and there is a wry, accurate and entertaining raconteur to tell them." —Keith Woodley, Pukorokoro Miranda News

Author Biography

Brian Gill is former curator of birds and other land vertebrates at Auckland Museum, author and co-author of many books, including The Owl that Fell from the Sky (Awa Press, 2012), New Zealand's Unique Birds, The Kiwi and Other Flightless Birds, and New Zealand Frogs and Reptiles, and a contributor to New Zealand Geographic and Forest and Bird.