The kangaroo (Macro pus) lives in droves in the open grassy plains.
Among these, the great grey kangaroo (M.
Acacia armata is the kangaroo-thorn of Australia, A.
They had clothing of skins rudely stitched together with bark thread, and they were decorated with simple necklaces of kangaroo teeth, shells and berries.
Of the Dutch discoverers, Pelsaert was the only one who made any detailed observations of the character of the country inland, and it may here be remarked that his journal contains the first notice and description of the kangaroo that has come down to us.
Kangaroo.-The sizes vary considerably, some being huge, others quite small.
The hind-foot is extremely long, narrow and (except in the musk-kangaroo) without the first toe.
In the case of the great grey kangaroo, for instance, the period of gestation is less than forty days, and the newly-born embryo, which is blind, naked, and unable to use its bud-like limbs, is little more than an inch in length.
Fossil bones of extinct kangaroo species are met with; these kangaroos must have been of enormous size, twice or thrice that of any species now living.
Arboreal species include the well-known opossums (Phalanger); the extraordinary tree-kangaroo of the Queensland tropics; the flying squirrel, which expands a membrane between the legs and arms, and by its aid makes long sailing jumps from tree to tree; and the native bear (Phascolarctos), an animal with no affinities to the bear, and having a long soft fur and no tail.
The waratah or native tulip, the magnificent flowering head of which, with the kangaroo, is symbolic of the country, is one of the Proteaceae.
The reference is, of course, to the kangaroo, which Pelsaert had also remarked and quaintly described some sixty years previously.
The sorts used for carriage aprons, coat linings and the outside of motor coats include: blue kangaroo, bush kangaroo, bridled kangaroo, wallaroo, yellow kangaroo, rock wallaby, swamp wallaby and short-tailed wallaby.
- See Kangaroo, above.
- The Great Grey Kangaroo (Macropus giganteus).
During the early period of their sojourn in the pouch, the blind, naked, helpless young creatures (which in the great kangaroo scarcely exceed an inch in length) are attached by their mouths to the nipple of the mother, and are fed by milk injected into their stomach by the contraction of the muscle covering the mammary gland.
In all these features the musk-kangaroo connects the Macropodidae with the Phalangeridae.
Characteristic forms of the Upper Sonoran zone are the burrowing owl, Nevada sage-thrush, sagethrasher and special species of orioles, kangaroo rats, mice, rabbits and squirrels.
The family is connected with the Phalangeridae by means of the musk-kangaroo (Hypsiprymnodon moschatus); forming the sub-family Hypsiprymnodontinae.
The same deposits have also yielded remains of extinct types of kangaroo, some of gigantic size, constituting the genera Sthenurus, Procoptodon and Palorchestes.
Kangaroo Island, at the entrance of St Vincent Gulf, is one of the largest islands on the Australian coast, measuring 80 m.
The kangaroo and most of its congeners show an extraordinary disproportion of the hind limbs to the fore part of the body.
The rock wallabies again have short tarsi of the hind legs, with a long pliable tail for climbing, like that of the tree kangaroo of New Guinea, or that of the jerboa.
The best-known species, Lumholtz' tree kangaroo (Dendrolagus lumholtzi), is found in North Queensland.
Some of its characteristic mammals and birds are the long-eared desert fox, four-toed kangaroo rats, Sonoran pocket mice, big-eared and tiny white-haired bats, road runner, cactus wren, canyon wren, desert thrashers, hooded oriole, black-throated desert sparrow, Texas night-hawk and Gambels quail.
Phillipi, the kangaroo-rat of the desert regions east of the Rocky Mountains, Perodipus and Microdipodops being allied genera.
- See Kangaroo, above.
Although intimately connected with the cuscuses and phalangers by means of the musk-kangaroo, the kangaroos and wallabies, together with the rat-kangaroos, are easily distinguishable from other diprotodont marsupials by their general conformation, and by peculiarities in the structure of their limbs, teeth and other organs.
The great red kangaroo (M.
- Skull and teeth of Lesueuir's Rat-Kangaroo (Bettongia lesueuiri).
In the rat-kangaroos, or kangaroo-rats, as they are called in Australia, constituting the sub-family Potoroinae, the first upper incisor is narrow, curved, and much exceeds the others in length; the upper canines are persistent, flattened, blunt and slightly curved, and the first two premolars of both jaws have large, simple, compressed crowns, with a nearly straight or slightly concave free cutting-edge, and both outer and inner surfaces usually marked by a series of parallel, vertical grooves and ridges.
Perhaps, however, the most interesting member of the whole group is the tiny musk-kangaroo (Hypsiprymnodon moschatus) of north-east Australia, which alone represents the sub-family Hypsiprymnodontinae, characterized by the presence of an opposable first toe on the hind-foot and the outward inclination of the penultimate upper premolar, as well by the small and feeble claws.
Its animal life is in the main distinguished in species only from that of the Upper Sonoran belt, including among birds, the desert sparrow, desert thrasher, mocking-bird, hooded oriole; and among mammals small nocturnal species of kangaroo rats, pocket mice, mice and bats.
Tasmanian savages were crafty warriors and kangaroo-hunters, and the women climbed the highest trees by notching, in quest of opossums. Shell-fish and crabs were taken, and seals knocked on the head with clubs, but neither fish-hook nor fishing-net was known, and indeed swimming fish were taboo as food.
Themeda Forskalii, which occurs from the Mediterranean region to South Africa and Tasmania, is the kangaroo grass of Australia, where, as in South Africa, it often covers wide tracts.
In the herbivorous modification, as seen in three distinct phases in the horse, the kangaroo, and in ruminants, the incisors are generally well developed in one or both jaws, and have a nipping action, either against one another or against a toothless hard pad in the upper jaw; while the canines are usually small or absent, at least in the upper jaw, but in the lower jaw may be approximated and assimilated to the incisors.
Their nets, made by women, either of the tendons of animals or the fibres of plants, will catch and hold the kangaroo or the emu, or the very large fish of Australian rivers.
The Marsupials include the Macro pus or kangaroo; the opossums, Phalangista vulpina and P. Cookii; the opossum-mouse, Dromicia nana; Perameles or bandicoot; Hypsiprymnus or kangaroo rat; Phascolomys or wombat; while of Monotremata there are the Echidna or porcupine ant-eater and the duck-billed platypus.
Among its characteristic mammals and birds are the sage cotton-tail, black-tailed jack-rabbit, Idaho rabbit, Oregon, Utah and Townsends ground squirrels, sage chipmunk, fivetoed kangaroo rats, pocket mice, grasshopper mice, burrowing owl, Brewers sparrow, Nevada sage sparrow, lazuli finch, sage thrasher, Nuttall s poor-will, Bullocks oriole and rough-winged swallow.
Value, kangaroo 9d.