Tag Archives: Science & research

Cassowary mystery cracked: Nature gifts giant bird an inbuilt ‘airconditioner’

The cassowary makes a guttural rumble which is among the lowest frequency call of any bird.Since Western naturalists first encountered the cassowary, the elusive but deadly bird has been shrouded in mysteries. Chief among them: the purpose of the cassowary’s large, rudder-like crest, known as a “casque”.

Now a team of Melbourne-based scientists say they have cracked the case open – and their answer could also apply to a suite of dinosaurs with similar cranial structures.

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Satellites to reveal secrets of one of Australia’s great migrations

Long-finned eels inhabit the freshwater of the eastern Australia, from Cape York to Wilsons Promontory.

Victorian researchers may finally be on the brink of solving a great mystery of wild Australia. And it will take a combination of cutting edge technology and ancient knowledge to crack it.

Once in their life-time, freshwater eels head downstream, enter the ocean and swim thousands of kilometres to a tropical spawning ground. But no-one knows where.

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Why this 28-year-old scientist is devoting her life to roadkill

Scientist Emma Spencer, 28, is devoting her career to the study of roadkill and other carcasses - but says her work is 'mostly about life'.

If you have ever driven a country highway in Australia, you have seen roadkill. Did you ever stop to consider it?

Scientist Emma Spencer, 28, not only thinks about the carcasses that litter the bush and our roadsides, she’s devoting her career to researching them. And it turns out all those dead animals could either push our unique native species, like the enigmatic night parrot, towards extinction – or help bring them back from the brink.

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Scientists, historians adder up clues to find truth about lost snake

One the world's deadliest snakes, the death adder is a master of subterfuge - it coils itself camouflages and lies in wait for prey which it entices with the wriggle of its distinctive, grub-like tail.For years snake enthusiasts have debated whether the fearsome death adder lived in Victoria before Europeans arrived and, if so, whether they are now extinct.

This week a team of researchers claimed to have definitively settled one half of that debate – and, in so doing, both opened a window into a lost era of the state’s natural history and raised fundamental questions about human-caused extinction.

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Big dry driving red-headed strangers south for a wetter life in our backyards

1509394543564It’s got a vivid red head and it’s more commonly spotted on the Queensland coast – but you may soon see this beautiful little bird in your Melbourne backyard.

That’s because the scarlet honeyeater appears to be heading to Victoria to seek refuge from drought in its usual habitat.

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An animal by any other name: Could changing this species’ name help save it from extinction?


The greater stick nest rat has teetered on the brink of extinction – and no one but a few dedicated souls seems ready to save the furry little rodent.

Is it because of its name? Specifically, one word in its name? Rat?

That’s the question raised by the manager of an extraordinary zoological collection of both extinct and surviving species.Screen Shot 2019-02-19 at 5.26.20 pm

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Rare, eerie bird returns to Bendigo bushland



It’s call has been likened to the wailing of children and screams for help – but the eerie night-time cry of the curlew has disappeared from the bush surrounding Bendigo.

The once common bush-stone curlew is now listed as endangered in Victoria. And Judy Crocker – who is spearheading local efforts to save the secretive bird – estimates there may be as few as two breeding pairs in the area.

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Microchips to save critically endangered microbats


r0_15_620_317_w1200_h678_fmaxA team of researchers from Bendigo is employing cutting-edge technology in a bid to save an enigmatic, yet little-known animal which breeds in just two caves in southern Australia.

The southern bent-wing bat is one of five Australian mammals listed as critically endangered, but La Trobe PhD researcher Emmi Scherlies said the reasons for its dramatic decline were a mystery.Screen Shot 2017-08-03 at 4.58.40 PM

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