illustration from 1792 of a male specimen of Struthio camelus, the African ostrich – however is that this species alive
and nicely and residing in Australia too? (public area)

summer season 1970, dingo hunter Peter Muir discovered and photographed some unusual
two-toed tracks within the spinifex (a spiny-seed grass) desert space close to Laverton,
Western Australia. Native aboriginals claimed that they have been from an ogre-like
monster – the tjangara or spinifex man.


initially assumed that these have been merely tracks of the widespread Australian emu Dromaius novaehollandiae, however swiftly
retracted this view – as a result of emus go away three-toed variations. Just one
recognized creature produces two-toed tracks like these at Laverton – Struthio
, the African ostrich!


Shut-up of ostrich foot
displaying its basically two-toed format – its very small third toe is simply too
quick to go away any noticeable impression in footprints (© Dr Karl Shuker)

the idea of ostriches residing wild in Australia is in no way ludicrous –
removed from it. Small populations of feral (run-wild) ostriches nonetheless persist
north of Adelaide, South Australia, as an illustration, descended from specimens
launched by ostrich farmers after World Struggle I, when the feather market collapsed.


Ostriches have been previously
maintained in captivity on Australian farms for his or her as soon as highly-valued plumes
(© Dr Karl Shuker)

the ostrich is a desert-hardy chook that may journey nice distances briefly
durations of time, in 1971 veteran American zoologist and cryptozoologist Ivan T.
Sanderson instructed in a brief Pursuit article
that some ex-farm specimens might not solely have survived and bred but additionally have
discreetly prolonged their vary throughout the intervening desertlands into Western
Australia, and thence to Laverton.  (By the way,
it’s recognized that ostriches have been launched in Western Australia earlier than 1912, however
these ‘formally’ died out with out establishing a inhabitants.)


Feminine ostrich (© Dr Karl

would supply a believable clarification for the thriller of the two-toed tracks and
their unseen originator(s) – aptly dubbed by Australian wags ‘the abominable
spinifex man’. Certainly, if the Laverton environs weren’t so sparsely populated,
the existence of ostriches there might have been confirmed by now.


Classic curio {photograph} of
an ostrich-drawn cart (public area)

This ShukerNature article is excerpted
from my e-book The Beasts That Cover From Man

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