Australian Megafauna


The term "megafauna" is usually applied to large animals (over 100 kg). In Australia, however, megafauna were never as large as those found on other continents, and so a more lenient criterion of over 40 kg is often applied.

Australian megafauna are a number of large animal species in Australia, often defined as species with body mass estimates of greater than 30 kilograms, or equal to or greater than 30% greater body mass than their closest living relatives. Many of these species became extinct, it is thought by many scientists, that with the arrival of humans (around 48,000-60,000 years ago), hunting and the use of fire to manage their environment may have contributed to the extinction of the megafauna. Increased aridity during peak glaciation (about 18,000 years ago) may have also contributed to the extinction of the megafauna.



Australia has a few remaining native megafauna, such as the Red Kangaroo, Emu and Estuarine Crocodile, whilst the oceans that surround our continent are home to the largest living marine megafauna, like the Blue Whale, Giant Squid, Whale Shark and Leather-back turtle. However, Australia didn’t always have so few native megafauna, instead our island continent was once home to the largest ever monotremes (egg-laying mammals), marsupials (pouched mammals), lizards and birds. Evidence of these extinct megafauna can be found across Australia as fossilised remains found in deep dark caves, eroding from river and creek banks, in ancient swampy peat bogs and dried-up salt lakes, and even eroding from old beach dunes.



Australian Lions
Thylacoleo ("pouch lion") is an extinct carnivorous marsupial that lived in Australia 2 million to 46 thousand years ago. Some of these "marsupial lions" were the largest mammalian predators in Australia of that time, with Thylacoleo carnifex approaching the weight of a small lion.







Giant kangaroos
Procoptodon (Giant Short-faced Kangaroo) was the largest kangaroo to ever live, standing 8 feet tall and possessing a truly bizarre body-shape. Unlike modern day kangaroos Procoptodon had an extremely short face, almost human-like, enormously long and strong forearms, robust and muscular legs and a short thick tail. Procoptodon was not built for excessive hopping, in fact, it would have used its long arms, strong legs and thick tail to balance itself whilst it pulled down large branches from trees, stripping them of their new leaves to feed such a bulky body. Fossils of this giant have been found in the Winton district, preserved as fragmentary teeth and a possible pelvis.

Minecraft

 
 

Minecraft is an open world game that has no specific goals for the player to accomplish, allowing players a large amount of freedom in choosing how to play the game. However, there is an optional achievement system. The gameplay by default is first person, but players have the option to play in third person mode. The core gameplay revolves around breaking and placing blocks. The game world is essentially composed of rough 3D objects—mainly cubes—that are arranged in a fixed grid pattern and represent different materials, such as dirt, stone, various ores, water, and tree trunks. While players can move freely across the world, objects and items can only be placed at fixed locations relative to the grid. Players can gather these material blocks and place them elsewhere, thus allowing for various constructions.



Minecraft Australia (MCAU) is one of the top Minecraft servers in Australia. With over two years of continuous running, it has become the top destination for Australian Minecrafters.



 

Marsupials


Marsupials are characterised, by the presence of a pouch in which they rear their young.

Australia has the world's largest, and most diverse range of marsupials.


Numbat's long tongue used for catching termites

The carnivorous marsupials order Dasyuromorphia, are represented by two surviving families, the Dasyuridae with 51 members, and the Myrmecobiidae with the numbat as its sole surviving member.


Tamanian Tigers in captivity 1930's

The Tasmanian Tiger was the largest Dasyuromorphia and the last living specimen of the family Thylacinidae however, what appears to have been the last known specimen died in captivity in 1936.




Tasmanian Devil

The world's largest surviving carnivorous marsupial is the Tasmanian Devil, it is the size of a small dog and can hunt, although it is mainly a scavenger. It became extinct on the mainland some 600 years ago, and is now found only in Tasmania.



Quoll (native cat)

There are four species of quoll, or native cat, all of which are threatened species.






Marsupial mouse (Brown Antechinus)

The remainder of the Dasyuridae are referred to as 'marsupial mice' most weigh less than 100 g.





Marsupial Mole

There are two species of Marsupial Mole Notoryctemorphia that inhabit the deserts of Western Australia, these rare blind and earless carnivorous creatures, spend most of their time underground,little is known about them.





Bilby                                              Sugar Glider                                   Bandicoot

The Sugar Glider,the bandicoots and bilbies Peramelemorphia,are marsupial omnivores. There are seven species in Australia, most of which are endangered. These small creatures share several characteristic physical features: a plump, arch-backed body with a long, delicately tapering snout, large upright ears, long, thin legs, and a thin tail. The evolutionary origin of this group is unclear, because they share characteristics from both carnivorous and herbivorous marsupials.



Koala Bear and baby

The Koala does not normally need to drink, because it can obtain all of the moisture it needs by eating leaves.Herbivorous marsupials are classified in the order Diprotodontia, and further into the suborders Vombatiformes and Phalangerida. The Vombatiformes include the Koala and the three species of wombat. One of Australia's best-known marsupials, the Koala is an arboreal species that feeds on the leaves of various species of eucalyptus.

Baby Wombat

Wombats, on the other hand, live on the ground and feed on grasses, sedges and roots. Wombats use their rodent-like front teeth and powerful claws to dig extensive burrow systems; they are mainly crepuscular and nocturnal.


Little Pygmy Possum

 
The Phalangerida includes six families and 26 species of possum and three families with 51 species of macropod. The possums are a diverse group of arboreal marsupials and vary in size from the Little Pygmy Possum, weighing just 7g, to the cat-sized Common Ringtail and Brushtail possums. The Sugar and Squirrel Gliders are common species of gliding possum, found in the eucalypt forests of eastern Australia, while the Feathertail Glider is the smallest glider species. The gliding possums have membranes called 'patagiums' that extend from the fifth finger of their forelimb back to the first toe of their hind foot. These membranes, when outstretched, allow them to glide between trees.


Kangaroo flexing his muscles

Finally the macropods are divided into three families, the Hypsiprymnodontidae, with the Musky Rat-kangaroo as its only member, the Potoroidae, with 11 species; and the Macropodidae, with 45 species. Macropods are found in all Australian environments except alpine areas.


Tasmanian Betongs

The Potoroidae include the bettongs, potaroos and rat-kangaroos, small species that make nests and carry plant material with their tails.


Mountain Wallabies

The Macropodiae include kangaroos, wallabies and associated species; size varies widely within this family. Most macropods have large hind legs and long, narrow hind feet, with a distinctive arrangement of four toes, and powerfully muscled tails, which they use to hop around. The Musky Rat-kangaroo is the smallest macropod and the only species that is quadrupedal not bipedal, while the male Red Kangaroo is the largest, reaching a height of about 2 m and weighing up to 85 kg.

Kingston Town


 
1976 - 1991



Arguably the greatest racehorse Australia has ever seen, Kingston Town was a true champion. Kingston Town was the winner of almost every group race in Australia, including 3 consecutive Moonee Valley Cox Plate's in a row.

Unlike some of today and yesterdays champions, Kingston Town was an incredibly versatile horse he had the ability to win sprint races and staying races and everything in between.


He was trained throughout his career by Tommy Smith and ridden in 25 of his 30 wins by Malcolm Johnston. Kingston Town made his debut as a two-year-old in March 1979, and, in his only start as a colt, famously ran a distant last, but returned as a gelding in the final weeks of the season to win the Round Table Handicap at 33/1.



In 1980 Kingston Town backed up after winning 4 weeks in a row in the Sydney Cup. Drawn the extreme outside in a 17 horse field there were doubts he could find a position let alone stay the 2 miles but there was never a problem. Kingston Town flew the start and crossed the entire field to led early but settled in 5th on off the rail. By the 1200m Better Vibes led Kingston Town then Warri Symbol and Double Century. On straightening Kingston Town took the lead and powered away from Double Century then Marlborough and Favaloso. Under hand and heels Kingston Town won by 3 ¼ lengths from Double Century with Marlborough third.






Kingston Town's win in the 1982 Cox Plate was marked by Bill Collins famously incorrect prognostication that 'Kingston Town can't win', which was hastily revised to '... he might win yet the champ ... Kingston Town's swamping them ... Kingston Town...'






Kingston Town


Sire Bletchingly


Grandsire Biscay


Dam Ada Hunter (GER)


Dam sire Andrea Mantegna (FR)

Sex Gelding

Foaled 1976

Country Australia

Colour Black

Breeder David H. Hains

Owner David Hains & Mr & Mrs. G Monsborough

Trainer T. J. Smith

Record 41: 30-5-2

Earnings AU$1,605,790


Group One's

Spring Champion Stakes (1979)

Rosehill Guineas (1980)

AJC Derby (1980)

H E Tancred Stakes (1980)

Sydney Cup (1980)

Queensland Derby (1980)

Cox Plate (1980, 1981 & 1982)

George Main Stakes (1981 & 1982)

Caulfield Stakes (1981 & 1982)

Western Mail Classic (1982)

After running his last race in Australia, in November 1982, Kingston Town was sent to America on 15 February 1984 in an attempt to overcome his leg problems, but he did not race in the United States. He was returned to Australia, and, in 1985, an attempt was made to resurrect his career, but he was scratched from his scheduled race and retired.


In March 1991, Kingston Town was put down after failing to recover from a leg injury that he suffered while playing with another horse, his favourite paddock-mate.