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Good morning John, Australia is a pretty isolated place geographically. But then, isolated significantly from Australia we
have the islands of New Zealand. But then, we go deeper and there are a number of islands isolated off the north coast of the south island of New Zealand, and all the way at the tip of them, that's where we find Takapourewa or Stephens Island.

Isolated from the isolated, a kind of ecological experiment that the Earth accidentally designed. Takapourewa is home to a number of
different, very weird species, including this weevil that makes no sense, what might be the rarest frog in the world, literally millions of seabirds, something called the darkling beetle, and of course
it is a stronghold of tuatara.

But the weirdest of them in my opinion is the one
that no longer exists. Lyall's wren was a weird bird, it was a passerine, the largest order of birds, more than half of all bird species are passerines. You can distinguish them from other birds because they have three toes in the front and one in the
back, good for grabbing onto sticks and perching.

But it was unlike any still-existing passerine because it could not fly.
Like the whole point of being a little bird is flying, right? Lyall's wren basically filled the ecological niche of a small rodent because there were no small rodents on New Zealand. It ran around really fast and had lots of babies and ate insects and worms and fruits and stuff.
But if you're gonna be a mouse, you're gonna be worse at it if you only have two legs.  And so when Polynesian rats were introduced to New Zealand by the Maori, they both out-competed and just consumed Lyall's wren. But Polynesian rats never got to Takapourewa.

But then cats.

Now there's an urban legend that Lyall's wren was actually extincted by one single cat. This isn't exactly what happened. We're not 100% sure how cats got to the island, we think probably the lighthouse keepers brought them there because they were lonely. But at some point a cat or several cats arrived at the island.

Now the name assigned to the cat that in the urban legend killed off the Lyall's wren was Tibbles, and I really like that name.

I don't know where it came from, it may very well have been David Lyall's cat. So let's just say that David Lyall's, one of the lighthouse keepers, had a relationship that was deep enough with a cat that sometimes that cat brought him presents, as cats do.

And one time that present was a dead bird that was unknown to science. And that is how Lyall got credit for discovering Lyall's wren, 
it should be called Tibbles' wren, thank you very much. It should actually be called Tibbles' acanthisittid, because it's not even a wren.

But by the time Tibbles showed up with that bird there was already a large and thriving population of feral cats on the island. The space
between Lyall being given that gift and the probable extinction of the species was barely more than a year.

Extinction sucks, but the good news is that there are now no longer any cats on Takapourewa. There aren't even any people there anymore, the lighthouse is operated remotely and the only reason people go there is to study this marvelous natural experiment that Earth created for us.

That experiment goes on, one bird down for sure and with a lot of ecological degradation, but it goes on, and with a marvelous ecology nonetheless.

John, it is now 25 days left until July 7th when the Carl saga concludes, and A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor is released, which means I have some things to talk about. First, you can pre-order
signed editions of A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor all over the place, including now at Waterstones in the UK. Second, I'm doing a Penguin World's book club event for the first book, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing with Cat Valente who is amazing.

Third, John you and I are going to be doing a launch event on July 7th at 7 00 p.m eastern. That will be here, that will be available to everyone, we're gonna have a good old time. Fourth, there will be a book tour, it will be all digital, bright side that means everyone can come.

These ticketed events include July 6th with John, July 8th with Ashley Ford, July 9th with Roman Mars and July 10th with Corey Doctorow, so you get to pick your special guest and all these are in partnership with local bookstores around the country. Everybody
who buys a ticket gets a signed copy of the book in the mail. And the first 500 people who sign up at each place get a lapel pin that you cannot get any other way. It's gonna be fun and weird and you can find out more information at the links in the description, John
I'll see you on Tuesday.