Tuesday, December 18

Dinosaurs in Australia

Until quite recently, finds of dinosaurs in Australia have been few and far between. The first find of an Australian dinosaur was a partial skeleton found on Cape York. Later named Agrosaurus, this small plant-eater from the Triassic period was found during an exploration of the area by HMS Fly. A large claw of a meat-eating dinosaur was found near Inverloch, Victoria around the turn of the Century and bones of a long-necked sauropod dinosaur, Rhoetosaurus, were found near Roma in Queensland in the 1930s. Other dinosaurs include a plant-eater similar to Iguanodon that was later named Muttaburrasaurus and a small armoured dinosaur named Minmi. It was not until the 1980s and 1990s that significant numbers of dinosaurs began to be excavated from Australia.  You can read more by clicking here…http://www.abc.net.au/dinosaurs/meet_the_dinos/ozdino1.htm…...

In Australia the term "megafauna" is applied to these large animals which generally have at least a 30% greater body mass compared to what might be considered their closest living relatives. More recent discoveries have found evidence these large animal species suddenly became extinct around 48,000 to 60,000 years ago. The reasons for this extinction are hotly debated but there exists a compelling hypothesis it coincided with the first arrival of humans whose use of fire and hunting caused their rapid demise.

The human factor is gaining new traction since the use of optically stimulated luminescence and uranium-thorium dating of the teeth or the remains indicates very similar climatic conditions then to what exists today. Climatic changes are very unlikely to have been the causes for their rapid extinction.

Australia today still has one of the largest rates of species extinction in the world but as a nation we are becoming much more aware and active in preserving our habitation with other species for future generations. 
It is indeed a good lesson to show just how easy it is for us - the human species to wipe out another in the space of just a few thousand years.  


Mercutio said...

Habitat encroachment is typically the cause of species extinction here.
Only recently have invasive species become an issue.
Some, like the bogan villa, are invasive is one area, but not another.

I'm wondering if Australia has more of an issue with invasive species.

Lindsay Byrnes said...

Invasive species arising from human activities, way beyond normality continues to damage both our environmental, agricultural and social resources. It is a major problem !! causing reduced r biodiversity and species extinction.

To curb the growth of weeds, pests and diseases control measures such as pre-border preparedness, border protection and management are measures adopted by individual land care groups scattered throughout the country.

A National Agreement on Bio security is currently under negotiation between the Australian and state and territory governments to improve key our national bio security system.

Despite its reputation as a vast continent, as you’re aware, Australia rates as one of the most urbanized countries in the world with dense populations concentrated on the eastern seaboard. The country is extremely fragile, dry and one without the rich volcanic soil seen elsewhere, except for a few isolated pockets.
Our bio divesity is fragile- on land and water and under threat !!

Our land has the legacy of 4 billion years under the sea which washed out most of the soils nutrients. The aboriginals occupied the land prior to colonization for maybe 45,000 – 60 years but the early settlers ruined the landscape by employing inapproriate UK farming practices, with tree felling combined with the overgrazing of sheep and cattle. The combination raised the water levels causing salination.

On the more positive side Australia has not employed subsidized farming as occurs in Europe and North America, so farmers are much more experimental and adaptive than there counterpart’s overseas.

Hence they are considered the most efficient and environmentally conscious in the world today.

Many farming communities are now linked through a common vision- Land Care. Typically their local Land Care groups ensure farms are not only sustainable, but set aside corridors of up to 12% of the land as sanctuaries for nature. Land Care was introduced in 1989 as a government funded imitative which enable groups to receive grants and technical advice to help better maintain the native landscape and set up the vital corridor sanctuaries which interlink the properties within each respective land care group.

There are 4,000 community Land Care Groups currently engaged at many different levels.

Typical example - the reintroduction of an endangered species, the “Bettong’, into a specifically designated sanctuary on one property where their population quickly increased from 10 to 100.

Land Care Groups continue to learn about nature and how to maintain their ecological system within their farm whilst making a farming living.

The prospect of serving two masters might seem as if it would be adversarial but the long term benefits point to a much greater overall production if less of the land is used.

In Australia both local communities and the Nation as a whole have accepted there is no common panacea or methodology going forward.

Rather what’s needed is a partnership approach with nature itself. We need to make a covenant with nature, to respect and learn at both the grass roots areas on the farm, in the communities and at the highest levels of society.

The old landscapes will never reappear fully, but we can, in our dreaming, create a new landscape, one that will last forever, but we will need to respect our partner, Mother Nature.

When Jarred Diamond was last in Australia, a few years ago he talked about Australia and what had changed from 40 years ago when he was last here.

It was all about the Land, he said, the new spirit within the country that acknowledges it is not here for us to do with it whatever we please.

We have a responsibility to preserve it forever. He saw grounds for cautious optimism.

Best wishes

susan said...

It was many years ago that I first learned about the Findhorn project in Scotland. I never did get to go and see the place for myself but it's good to know the spirit of the place has grown over the passing decades. It seems that little by little (and happily more and more in some places like Australia) we are learning to protect and nurture. We are a part of all creation.

Best wishes, Lindsay. May you and your wife and family enjoy a wonderful Christmas.

Lindsay Byrnes said...

Hi Susan,

Thanks for the interesting comment - It does seem that gradually we are learning to protect and nurture our planet.

Best wishes, to you and your family over Christmas.

Mercutio said...

Thank you for the information.
Here, there are some efforts toward curbing invasive species, though these are typically actions at the state level. When entering California by highway, each vehicle is inspected for houseplants; some aphid or something that poses a threat to the citrus crop.
In other parts, levees are built to reduce topsoil runoff in farming lands. I believe this is at a more local than the state; through co-ops and such.

gfid said...

Dinosaurs are huge here in Alberta (couldn't resist the pun) there are several species that, so far, have been found nowhere else... One being the pachyrinosaurus.... Similar to a triceratops. And there's a dig on the red willow creek that has verified the existence of large mammalian egg-layers. A whole community of them killed in a flash flood was found preserved in the unusually thick fossil bearing strata here.

Sadly, though, the mighty dollar holds sway, and those with a respectful relationship with the land are a small minority here. There's just too much money to be made. greed is god

gfid said...

I meant to wish you a happy new year, and got distracted. Many blessings in 2013

Lindsay Byrnes said...

Hi Granny fiddler
I guess your abundance of water and climatic extremes detract from the reality your remarkable wilderness and land is just as fragile as our arid continent- and can be ruined just as easily.
Best wishes to you for 2013.

I have suffered from a bad back for a long time and my surgeon has now said I have "bone on bone" at the L5 /S1 level.

Hence I am scheduled for a 2 hour operation- a decompression / Instrumental fusion on the 2nd Feb. Screws are used to secure the L5 S1 level to the pelvic bone via
steel plates. Over time, a solid fusion occurs as bone grows over the entire area to stabilize the lower spine area.

The desired outcome is spine stability and prevention of current nerve root contact.
So I will be in recovery mode for 3- 6 months after which I hope to enjoy a lot of relief

Best wishes

gfid said...

hot spit'n carry six! that's MAJOR surgery, my friend. I'll be thinking of you and your surgery in the coming weeks... i feel certain there are many friends and family joining in prayer for its success. take good care of yourself. we'll miss your wisdom and insight while you mend.

Mercutio said...

Wishing you the best, and a speedy recovery.

susan said...

Hi Lindsay,
The comment I left last night seems to have disappeared but I wanted to let you know I'll be thinking of you too - before, during, and after your surgery.

Best wishes and hopes the heatwave in Australia hasn't made daily life too miserable.

Lindsay Byrnes said...

Hi Susan - many thank and operation tomorrow and hence offs the air for quite a few weeks.

I managed to complete a posting today as above amongst preparations - didn’t have time to visit.

Best wishes