Such expressions as that famous one of Linnæus, and which we often meet with in a more or less concealed form, that the characters do not make the genus, but that the genus gives the characters, seem to imply that something more is included in our classification, than mere resemblance. I believe that something more is included; and that propinquity of descent,—the only known cause of the similarity of organic beings,—is the bond, hidden as it is by various degrees of modification, which is partially revealed to us by our classifications (Darwin, 1859, p. 413f).

Friday, 5 June 2009

Long Distance Dispersal Thwarted

"An Australian man has saved a kangaroo from drowning in shark-infested waters by using his surfboard to rescue the exhausted animal." From the Telegraph

From the Wollongong Herald

In what has been described as the biodiversity bombshell, Australian fauna are dispersing from Down-under. "We have up to 600 volunteers patrolling beaches for any fleeing kangaroos, parrots or wombats" says Eric Hedgers of Dispersal Watch. "Last month we had two successful escapees, a goanna [large lizard] and an echidna". Biologists closely monitoring the exodus believe there is an overwhelming preference for New Zealand. Mr. Hedgers seems amazed at all the media attention. "I mean it's so close, why wouldn't you disperse? It seems unusual that a small freshwater Alpine fish wouldn't cross 1000kms of deep sea and migrate up a mountain. We’re surprised this hasn't happen earlier".

However Prof. Bush from the Wellington University of Technology believes the Aussie invasion is only temporary. "They've got their minds set on South America, possibly Chile or the Amazon. A small lizard for instance could easily raft across the Pacific on the back of an otter for over six months - except Australia doesn’t have any otters". Could this mean the end for Australia's biodiversity?

Australian ornithologist, Dr. Betty Simmons has her doubts. "We'll just get all the African species". Navy officials have confirmed the sightings of three elephants and a hippo 300 kilometers off the South Australian Coast. "On the positive side this could potentially save our economy. Tourists can save time and money visiting Uluru and going on safari at the same time".

An outback filled with wildebeest, lions and giraffes have conservationists like Mr. Hedgers worried. "Can you imagine Australia without its iconic fauna?" There is however some hope. "The echidna came back after a week. I think it didn’t like the ants".

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