The great escape

By Natasha Tay. Australian animals get a bad rep for being a bit obtuse when it comes to predators, with more than half (73 of 124) of Australia’s Extinct, Threatened and Near Threatened terrestrial mammal species considered to be extremely susceptible to introduced red foxes and feral cats (Radford et al. 2018). For this reason,…

Ancient animals reveal unexpected environments

By Natalie Warburton @aNATomy_lab. Studying animal behaviour and ecology can involve hundreds of hours of field work in uncomfortable conditions, and for Australian mammals at least, very long nights. But what about animals from the past? How can we understand their behaviour and ecology, and what can this tell us about how ecosystems and the…

Australian diggers – strong-arm excavators and aerators of Australian landscapes

By Meg Martin. Digging marsupials play an especially important ecological role in Australian ecosystems by helping with soil turnover, nutrient mixing, seed dispersal and increasing breakdown of organic materials. Many of these species are highly specialised diggers – with strong forlimbs and long claws. Historically, the interactions between bones and muscle during behaviour has been…

A Rubbish Diet

By Heather Crawford, Mike Calver and Trish Fleming.  Domestic cats (Felis catus) are one of the most widely distributed and successful carnivores globally. In cities, unowned cats (‘stray’) live in close association with human habitations and can roam across neighbourhoods, commercial areas, parks and bush reserves, hunting wildlife and scavenging food where they can find…

Runways and fancy feet – tracking escape paths of marsupials

By Natasha Tay.  Ever thought you’d spend two weeks in the bush giving bettongs rave party feet and putting them on a runway for science? I travelled to Arid Recovery in South Australia this past May to do exactly that. My PhD investigates anti-predator behaviour in marsupials, focussing on how anatomy affects their physical ability…