Tag Archives: Richard Owen

You only live twice

Australia is a continent full of weird wonders. From kangaroos to koalas, the animals here are unlike anywhere else on the planet. Australia is a landmass that has drifted slowly northwards, alone, across the empty Indian Ocean for over 30 … Continue reading

Posted in Diprotodon, Giant Short-Faced Kangaroo, Marsupial Tapir, Zygomaturus | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Turtle Power

In the canonical tale, Big Chuck D’s visit to the Galapagos was a “Eureka!” moment, where he instantly worked out his theory of evolution by natural selection after observing the different species of finches on the archipelago’s varying islands. Almost … Continue reading

Posted in Meiolania | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Lost, as the moa is lost!

Every biologist has a gateway species. The taxon you had never heard of before that just looked so weird and unusual that you had to learn more. So, you looked up a few books, searched some library holdings, maybe photocopied … Continue reading

Posted in moa | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

The strangest animals ever discovered

I love reading through Charles Darwin’s diaries. Who wouldn’t? Written in his early 20s, Darwin writes detailed accounts of his days on board HMS Beagle. For me, these are accounts of fantastic, real, adventures: travelling where no Englishman had travelled … Continue reading

Posted in Macrauchenia, Toxodon | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

A big ass kangaroo

Marsupials are cool mammals. The youngsters are born very, very early. So early in fact they are the size of a jelly bean. These pink wrinkly little joeys develop for several months outside of the womb protected inside a nice … Continue reading

Posted in Giant Short-Faced Kangaroo | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

A Very English Panda

I was always rather glad that the delightful cartoon Kung Fu Panda gave suitable publicity to the Red Panda. Veteran actor Dustin Hoffman voiced the feisty little martial arts maestro of the film and I know from my own daughter … Continue reading

Posted in Red Panda | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

The bizarre elongated llama

In the Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy, landscape manufacturer Slartibartfast likes to take elements of his favourite geological features and pop them together to make something extra special – allegedly how Scandinavia came about! On finding out about Macrauchenia, the … Continue reading

Posted in Macrauchenia | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Darwin’s 18 pence

South American Pleistocene beasts were super weird. They owe their peculiar evolution to events that happened deep within the very bowels of the planet, hundreds of millions of years ago. Almost all the land that we know today was squashed together … Continue reading

Posted in Toxodon | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

The pouched lion

Australia is a land stripped of megafauna. The largest surviving kangaroo is a dwarf compared to the elephants, giraffes, rhinos, and hippos of Africa. Similarly, the largest living carnivorous marsupial, the Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harisii), is a stunted furball when … Continue reading

Posted in Marsupial Lion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

The dragon down under

Not so long ago an enormous lizard dragged it claws through the dried, dead leaves deep in the Australian woodlands. Longer than a black cab, this was the largest lizard (so far discovered) ever to walk on land. Its teeth were around … Continue reading

Posted in Megalania | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments