14 December 2017 - THE WILD DINGO OF AUSTRALIA





THE WILD DINGO 
OF 
AUSTRALIA

G'day folks,

welcome to some interesting facts about one of the cleanest looking dogs in the world.  The dingo is a type of feral dog native to Australia. The dingo is the largest terrestrial predator in Australia, and plays an important role as an apex predator.

It is believed that the dingo is descended from the Asian wolf, Canis lupus pallipes.The earliest dingo skeleton found is 3500 years old and it is thought dingoes arrived in Australia between 4,600 –18, 300 years ago.




Amazing Facts About the Dingo
  • Originally a domestic dog thought to have been brought to Australia by the Aborigines’, though studies show it was more feasible dingoes arrived over land bridges that existed than by being introduced by humans over the sea. The dingo is a tireless hunter and will cross large expanses of desert and open bush in search of its prey.Similar to the domestic dog, in particular the German Shepherd, their coat is usually reddish-brown with irregular white markings, although the colouring varies across its range. The colour of a dingo can determine where it is from, for example, dark brown coats derive from forested area and a more typical tan colour is associated with arid land. It has a long pointed muzzle and a mouth containing large molars and long canine teeth. Their ears are quite large, pointed and permanently erect. Their tails are bushy and have a distinctive white tip.
  • The female obtains some of the moisture she needs to produce milk for her puppies by eating their droppings.
  • It was known that a female moved a litter of six pups individually over 9km in a single night, a total journey of 180km.
   The loose family group in which the dingo lives is kept within a core territory which it protects. Its total range, however, is far larger and often overlaps with that of other groups.
  A young male dingo can forage over as wide an area as 60km in a night and may join a local pack when food is abundant, but when it is scarce the pack drives any newcomer away.


  • Healthy adults take responsibility to keep old and weak animals away from food and water so that they quickly die.
  • Both male and female dingoes take responsibility for rearing their young. The females will chose the same hidden, sheltered place each year to raise their young, provided it remains undisturbed.  After the pups are born, the parents move downwind of their burrow so that they can watch for predators without drawing attention to the pups’ hiding place. Both parents will collect food for their pups, travelling long distances from the burrow and leaving potential prey nearby and untouched, so the pups can later learn to hunt it for themselves. Although fully weaned, a pup may still approach its mother for regurgitated food.
  • Young dingoes will fight aggressively in a bid to establish their place in the pecking order of the pack. However, their teamwork and stamina are the keys to hunting successfully as a pack.
  • Dingoes hunt mainly at night and when in a pack they will target and kill large animals, such as a kangaroo. When a pack kills more than its members can eat, they bury the remaining food, digging it up to eat later. They will also eat eggs, grubs and wildfowl when other prey is scarce.
  • Similar to the fox, the dingo has traditionally been accused of preying on sheep. However, analysis of the stomach contents of dingoes from Western Australia has shown that sheep are not a significant part of its diet.
  • When the first European settlers arrived in Australia, they claimed to have found Aborigine women suckling dingo pups.
  • The early Aboriginals used tamed dingoes as living hot water bottles to keep them warm at night.


 


Clancy's comment: I always liked taking photographs of these wild dogs when I lived in the Northern Territory, but they were fairly shy creatures. They certainly are very attractive dogs.
I'm ....









 

13 December 2017 - CROWN SHYNESS – AN AMAZING PHENOMENON


CROWN SHYNESS
 – AN AMAZING PHENOMENON -

G'day folks,

I bet most of you know nothing about this. I certainly didn't.

Crown shyness or canopy disengagement is a mysterious natural phenomenon in which the crowns of some tree species do not touch each other, but are separated by a gap clearly visible from ground level. The effect usually occurs between trees of the same species, but has also been observed between trees of different species.



The Crown Shyness phenomenon was first documented in scientific literature during the 1920s, but researchers have since not been able to reach a consensus regarding its causes. There are many theories going around in scientific circles, most of which make sense, but no one has been able to prove without the shadow of a doubt why some trees avoid touching each other. But perhaps it’s this mystery, along with its striking appearance, that makes crown shyness such a fascinating phenomenon.



 In his 1955 book “Growth Habits of the Eucalypts”, Australian forester M.R. Jacobs writes that the growing tips of the trees are sensitive to abrasion, which results in the canopy gaps known as crown shyness. In 1986, this theory was also supported by Dr Miguel Franco, who noticed that the branches of Picea sitchensis (Sitka spruce) and Larix kaempferi trees suffered physical damage during abrasion, which killed the leading branches. Some experiments have shown that if trees displaying crown shyness are artificially prevented from swaying in the wind and colliding with each other, they gradually fill up the gaps between them.



But while the above theory is arguably the most widespread, it’s certainly not the only one. Some scientists have suggested that crown shyness is a mechanism to stop the spreading of leaf-eating insects. These pests have been known to work together and create structures that extend up to 10 cm off of tree branches, in order to reach other plants, so the gaps are the tree’s natural defense mechanism.



Amusing Planet cites one Malaysian scholar who studied the Dryobalanops aromatica trees, but found no traces of abrasions, despite their clear crown shyness. Instead, he suggests that the growing tips of the trees were sensitive to light levels and stopped growing when they got too close to other trees. Science also supports this theory, as plants are able to sense how close they are to other plants by detecting a specific frequency of light called far-red light. 

This allows them to compete with their neighbours over light needed to keep growing.


Clancy's comment: Wow. Wonders never cease, eh?
I'm ...