Anna Clark reviews Australia’s First Naturalists: Indigenous peoples’ contribution to early zoology by Penny Olsen and Lynette Russell
What does it mean to really know an ecosystem? To name all the plants and animals in a place and understand their interactions? To feel an embodied connection to Country? To see and hear in ways that confirm and extend that knowledge?... (read more)
Danielle Clode reviews 'Adventures of a Young Naturalist: The Zoo Quest expeditions' by David Attenborough
David Attenborough turned ninety last year. In a short animation celebrating his birthday, two Aardman penguins muse on their first meeting with the famous naturalist. ‘There’s something just about him,’ says the first penguin. ‘I don’t know why you wouldn’t love David Attenborough,’ declares the second. Indeed, it is hard to ...... (read more)
Ben Brooker reviews 'The Inner Life of Animals: Love, grief and compassion – surprising observations of a hidden world' by Peter Wohlleben, translated by Jane Billinghurst
In a 1974 paper, American philosopher Thomas Nagel famously wondered what it was like to be a bat. He concluded that we could never know what it was like to be a member of a different species – that the inner lives of animals are ultimately inaccessible to us ...... (read more)
Richard Noske reviews 'The Australian Bird Guide' by Peter Menkhorst, Danny Rogers, Rohan Clarke, Jeff Davies, Peter Marsack, and Kim Franklin
With five illustrated field guides, two e-guide apps, and at least three photographic guides available to help people identify birds in Australia, some would question the need for yet another. The first field guide to Australian birds, written and illustrated by renowned bird artist Peter Slater, was published in 1970 and 1974 (two volumes) ...... (read more)
Zoological gardens are conflicted institutions. They provide a miraculous opportunity for close-ups with exotic and native animals one might never otherwise encounter. Yet they do so by keeping those very animals captive. The creaturely contact that zoos hope and claim can help transform citizens into advocates for animals and the environment is discomfited, if not ...
The enigmatic Platypus
by Ann Moyal
Allen & Unwin, $24.99 pb, 249 pp, 9781741757798
When the first specimen of the Platypus reached Europe in 1798, it was received with incredulity by zoologists. With anatomical and mor ...