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Australian Geographic November - December 2015

Australian Geographic, Australia’s premier geographic journal, brings you the best of the country from those who know it best. Discover Australia’s rich cultural heritage, its beautiful landscapes, its unique and diverse plants and wildlife, and explore outback towns and the true-blue characters who call them home.

Australian Geographic Holdings Pty Ltd
R 96,04
R 264,32
6 Issues

in this issue

1 min

AUSTRALIANGEOGRAPHIC.COM.AU The content doesn’t end with this issue of the journal. You’ll find thousands more articles, images and videos online. Discover all the stories highlighted here at: australiangeographic.com.au/issue129 Sign up to the Australian Geographic email newsletter on our homepage and we’ll deliver fresh content to your inbox every week! 13 NEW SPECIES OF SPIDER DISCOVERED IN QUEENSLAND A group of scientists, teachers and Aboriginal rangers have found an abundance of new Australian spiders. BEST LANDSCAPE PHOTOS OF 2015 Winners of the 2015 International Landscape Photographer of the Year. SHARK DETERRENTS: DO THEY REALLY WORK? Researchers studying shark deterrents in Western Australia have found that one type appears to work on great whites. CRIMSON CHAT ON THE HUNT FOR GRUBS A crimson chat seeking insects to feed its chicks makes for a great reader photo. EXCLUSIVE CONTENT ACTIVATE YOUR WEB ACCESS Three decades of…

2 min
let the adventures beg

OUR ANNUAL celebration of adventure and conservation – the 2015 Australian Geographic Society Awards – took place in Sydney on 28 October, and once more we hosted the year’s brightest and best in adventure and conservation (page 117). The audience at the sellout event was treated to inspiring tales of courage, perseverance and a dogged determination to make a diff erence from amazing Aussies of all ages and from all walks of life – as well as an inspirational presentation from wonderful guest speaker Jessica Watson. The party atmosphere was heightened by the exciting prospect of AG’s impending 30th birthday next year. As we look to that milestone – to be celebrated in the next issue (Jan/Feb 2016) – the founding editor of this journal, Howard Whelan, reveals Australia’s 50 greatest…

1 min

Kevin Stead began his working life as a high school art teacher, a role he continued for 15 years before leaving to focus on his own creativity. Never tempted to cross the digital divide, Kevin sticks resolutely to his favourite traditional mediums of watercolour and gouache on paper, or acrylic on canvas, working from photographic references and live specimens. Kevin has been working with AUSTRALIAN GEOGRAPHIC since AG 15, which featured his magnificent tree frog on the cover. NATURE WATCH, PAGE 24 Heath Holden started photographing BMX and mountain-bike riding events, which opened a path for him to explore the world. Since then he has lived and worked in Canada and Singapore, and is currently working as a photojournalist based in Tasmania. With a combined passion for natural history and outdoor adventures,…

2 min
accounting for taste

“SN’T SHE SWEET”, “bitter old man”, “He’s a good salt.” English is littered with sayings relating to our sense of taste. It’s one of the earliest senses, developing 21 weeks after conception, and is also one of the most powerful. There are five basic tastes: sweet; sour; salty; bitter; and savoury, or umami (and perhaps now a sixth – fat). The historic diagram that shows the tongue divided into diff erent regions responsible for each taste is in fact a myth. All tastebuds detect all flavours, but the concentrations of cells able to detect diff erent chemicals (sodium chloride for salty, sucrose for sweet, for example) varies across the tongue, meaning that some flavours appear to be detected in diff erent regions first. SUPERTASTERS? Some people have a greater concentration of tastebuds,…

3 min
all hail ‘lightning claw’

IN AUGUST I LED an AG Society Scientific Expedition to Lightning Ridge. It was the first fossil dig we have hosted, and one of the most exciting specimens we helped study was a new meat-eating dinosaur, the largest ever discovered in Australia. Originally found by opal miners in the 1990s, the fossil has only recently been studied by Dr Phil Bell, palaeontologist at the University of New England in Armidale, NSW. The fossil was discovered underground at the Carters Rush opal field, and consists of a giant claw from the hand; parts of the arm, hip and foot; pieces of ribs; and a whole bunch of other fragments. “When I started looking at this fossil last year, I immediately recognised it was something new and important. Comparing it with other Australian and…

1 min
inside outside

1 AERIAL ADAPTATIONS The shadow of a gliding membrane – a skin fold known as the patagium – can be seen in this image of a squirrel glider (Petaurus norfolcensis). Elongated vertebrae are a less obvious adaptation for gliding. Similar to other possums and gliders, the limb and tail structure reflects this species’ tree-dwelling lifestyle. 2 DEVIL’S DETAIL Combine this fearsome tooth display with the extraordinary bite strength of the Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) – which is the same as that of a dog four times its size – and it’s clear why this endangered carnivore has such a savage reputation. 3 ANCIENT ANCESTRY Unique pelvic bones reveal a link between the short-beaked echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus), extinct mammalian ancestors and living crocodiles. Note the sharp protective spines covering the echidna’s body – like our fingernails,…