Friday, May 10, 2013

Out Of The Dreamtime - The Search For Australasia's Unknown Animals

Out Of The Dreamtime - The Search For Australasia's Unknown Animals

This book is about Impossible as well as Possible animals. ‘Impossible’ because they are species not supposed to exist, and ‘Possible’ because they are long-extinct species which may still be alive. Sightings of such animals occur regularly throughout the world, in remote mountain ranges and forests, as well as in lakes, rivers and the ocean depths. I doubt that there are few lay people who have never heard of such mysterious creatures as Scotland’s notorious “Loch Ness Monster”; the Yeti [“Dweller among the rocks”] of the Himalayas; or ‘Bigfoot’ of North America.

Or, the giant snakes of the Amazon jungles; and the Mokele-mbembe of the Congo, giant dinosaur-like reptiles of pigmy folklore and now the subject of serious scientific attention. These are but a few examples of the more famous ‘unknown’ animal species believed to exist throughout the world. There have already been a great many books and magazine articles written, about these and other strange creatures reported seen in remote corners of our planet. Yet these publications, with few exceptions, have left out one vast region of the world. It is a region which has for too long been overlooked and ignored by researchers of zoological mysteries; Australia, and its neighbouring islands.

And yet, this region holds a great many zoological mysteries. For, while everyone has heard about the Loch Ness Monster, the Yeti, Bigfoot etc - how many overseas readers have heard of the Yowie? Much has been written about England’s mystery panthers and pumas [actually escaped illegal pets] but few overseas publications have given much attention to the giant “Australian Panther”. Scotland’s ‘Nessie’ is known worldwide, but how many Australians have heard about their own ‘Nessie’, the Moolyewonk, or Mirreeula of Aboriginal folklore? Giant sea and lake-dwelling creatures are to be found in the Australasian region that could quite easily rival ‘Nessie’ in scientific interest once they became better known.

Overseas mysteries such as the Yeti, ‘Nessie’, Mokele-mbembe etc, are interesting, but I do not feel they are as fascinating as the many animal mysteries to be investigated within the Australasian region. They are all here, the ‘extinct’ Tasmanian Tiger, the “Australian Panther”, Giant Australian Monitor Lizard, giant snakes, giant sharks, giant eagles and more. They are the “Monsters in our own back yard”, our very own Australasian ‘unknown animals’ begging to be recognised and investigated. There remains only the equally enigmatic ‘Bunyip’, that most fabulous of all ancient Australian Aboriginal animal traditions to be mentioned. And he deserves pride of place, for in the course of this thesis he holds an important place in the unravelling of the many mysteries to be revealed in this book.
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