Showing posts with label Queensland. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Queensland. Show all posts

Mystery Tanami Egg is Not of the Night Parrot

Mystery egg of the Night Parrot in Tanami Desert?
A mystery egg was found in the Tanami Desert of northern Australia 30 years ago. Many latched on to this specimen as being from the Night Parrot, thought to be extinct. DNA from the egg was compared to DNA of Night Parrot specimens in the Queensland Museum. The Brown Quail was found to be the "mother" of the Tanami egg.
Night Parrot
All hope was not lost, however. In 2013 the Night Parrot was found to be still with us. A small population was discovered living in Western Australia, far away from Queensland. Much has been leaned about the environmental requirements for the rare bird's survival.

This shows that human hope is very strong. We will attribute links to things that are very weak. The egg does have unusual characteristics: it is sand white, not like the quail egg which is pale but speckled brown. It is pointed at one end though, typical of the quail.
 Ornithology by Ty Buchanan 
night, parrot, brown, quail, mystery, egg, tanami, desert, queensland, western, australia, dna, rare, extinct

The World's Rice Originated in Australia

Rice came from Asia, more specifically China, right? You would be wrong. Genetic tests on rice grown today show it come from northern Australia. It was clean, uncontaminated and has been pinned down to Cape York in Queensland.
Australian wild rice in cape york northern queensland
Originally, it was growing wild in the tropics, an unusal place for rice as we associate it with wet conditions all year round. The real question is how did it get to Asia? Obviously, people from Asia came to Australia and took it home.

The Middle East is the cradle of Mankind. For rice it is Australia. Wild rice growing there today is more genetically diverse than anywhere else in the world. Asian domestic and wild rice is inbred. Australian rice is wild. It grows there today unchanged by human intervention. This took place 7,000 years ago.

Australian rice will be the basis of research to improve world food production. It holds the genetic keys to open the door very wide indeed. Modern rice varieties are just little sparks from the fire of the Australian native gene pool. The introduction of genes from Australia is vital to feed the growing world population.
Genetics by Ty Buchanan
            Australian Blog   Adventure Australia
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Australian wild rice cape York northern Australia species modern food crop world population

New Catfish Species in Australia

Carfish are fairly mundane creatures. If you are fishing and you hook one thinking it is a big pike you are annoyed when you drag it in, and "drag" it the defining word. They are usually a dead weight on the line.

On the other hand if you are a biologist all animals are of interest. A combined US, Australia team has discovered a new catfish species in North Queensland. It has a tail like an eel, not the usual fish-like tail. Apparently, people knew of its existence for many years and just assumed it was like any other catfish.

Tandanus tropicanus is cylindrical in body shape. It has a large head and tiny eyes. DNA tests showed that the fish is a distinct species. Overall, its body configuration is different from other catfish.

Unlike many catfish it is good to eat. Fishermen have been catching it for many years for food not knowing how unique it was. Despite the accumulation of human knowledge about the world there is a lot we still do not know about nature.
Biology by Ty Buchanan
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Sea Levels Fall in Eastern Australia

It seems the Earth is trying to balance out global warming itself. There could be a natural balance level that the planet is attempting to reach. In Australia an unusual phenomenon has taken place.

We have had a lot of rain in coastal regions, while inland it remains dry. The arid regions have soaked up the excess water only gradually releasing it to the ocean, so sea levels have not increased. Indeed, sea level has fallen 7 millimeters.

Damaging floods cost Queenslanders millions of dollars. It was so bad that insurance companies refused to reinsured low-lying towns. Even the dry Northern Territory had floods. One of two very close La Ninas was the strongest ever recorded. The year 2012 was rain, rain and more rain.

This is not something that global warming critics should put forward as a natural solution. Only in Australia does the unusual geographic structure of the continent exist. Humid air moved slowly east but moved as far south as Melbourne, pushing up rainfall 20 per cent. Tropical air has never reached Melbourne before.

The fall in sea level is only a blip on the rising graph. The average rise is 3.2 millimeters a year. By the end of the century ocean levels are expected to increase by 820 millimeters, up from previous estimates of 590.

Rising use of carbon fuel may make sea levels rise even more. The oil "boom" in the US threatens all the good work being done by environmentalists to change behavior. Higher production has pushed "peak oil" well into the future. Enthusiasm for non-carbon power sources is waning.
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Spider Eats Bird

Is it safe to go out? Well maybe not. A spider was seen eating a bird in Cairns, north Queensland.

The golden orb weaver spider usually eats insects. It is a step up for it to consume a bird. The bird had flown into the spider's web and become weak. Then the spider attacked it.

Golden orb spiders grow much larger than the one shown in the photograph. Though they were not thought capable of eating a whole bird.
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New Way to Kill Cane Toads

It has recently been discovered that the way to fight the intrusive cane toad in Australia is to fence off all waterholes and dams. Without water they die. Another method has also been identified. A chemical that is in the toad itself is used against it. Tadpoles contain this chemical that kills toad eggs on contact. Those that survive grow at a slower rate than normal, so they are more vulnerable to predators.

The chemical is harmless to native species. Ways of implementing this strategy nationwide need to be developed, but this is only a matter of time. The pest has just reached the far west coast of Australia, leaping its way across the whole country.

West Australians are on search and destroy missions into the night. Queenslanders gave up on this years ago at it had no impact on their numbers. The fight continues.
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