12 Oct 2010

Wild Australia

The bookmark with wild animals from Australia.

The kangaroo is a national symbol of Australia. A common myth about the kangaroo's English name is that "kangaroo" was a Guugu Yimithirr phrase for "I don't understand you." According to this legend, Lieutenant Cook and naturalist Sir Joseph Banks were exploring the area when they happened upon the animal. They asked a nearby local what the creatures were called. The local responded "Kangaroo", meaning "I don't understand you", which Cook took to be the name of the creature. The Kangaroo myth was debunked in the 1970s by linguist John B. Haviland in his research with the Guugu Yimithirr people.

The koala is found in coastal regions of eastern and southern Australia. Although the koala is not a bear, English-speaking settlers from the late 18th century first called it koala bear due to its similarity in appearance to bears. The koala lives almost entirely on eucalypt leaves. Koalas spend about three of their five active hours eating. Feeding occurs at any time of day, but usually at night.

Echidnas live in New Guinea and Australia. The echidnas are named after a monster in ancient Greek mythology. Echidnas are small mammals that are covered with coarse hair and spines.

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