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Makings of icons: Alan Newsome, the red kangaroo and the dingo

Version 2 2024-06-17, 20:48
Version 1 2016-12-05, 14:30
journal contribution
posted on 2024-06-17, 20:48 authored by TM Newsome
The red kangaroo (Macropus rufus) and the dingo (Canis dingo) are two of Australia’s iconic mammals. Both are ingrained in the national psyche andwell knowninternationally. For the red kangaroo, recognition has come despite the fact that the highest densities of the species occur well away from most of the human population. The dingo has achieved its status despite being present on the continent for perhaps as little as 3,000 years. This article considers the question of how, and why, these two animals became so elevated in the popular imagination and the scientific literature. It is a story of both the integers and consequences of scientific research, a story best told with a particular focus on the contribution made by one individual. Alan Newsome changed our understanding of the interactions between agriculture, introduced species and native wildlife, and was one of the first to understand the possibilities of enriching western science with Indigenous knowledge. He was a pioneer in explaining—particularly by reference to the red kangaroo in central Australia—the remarkable story of howAustralian wildlife has adapted to survive some of the harshest conditions on the planet. His work across the landscape of the arid zone has had profound implications for management and conservation in Australia. This, then, is the story of three icons: the red kangaroo, the dingo and Alan Newsome.

History

Journal

Historical records of Australian science

Volume

25

Pagination

153-171

Location

Clayton, Vic.

ISSN

0727-3061

eISSN

1448-5508

Language

eng

Publication classification

C Journal article, C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2014, Australian Academy of Science

Issue

2

Publisher

CSIRO Publishing