Nature Kids Summer 2022

Find awe & yourself in nature 

Book Review

True Roo: Little Walla and the Bushfire  

Written & illustrated by Mary Crock. Reviewed by Emilia, age 6 

The idea that the fire could come from the lightning is quite scary, especially when Mama Roo leaves her baby — but don’t worry it’s alright in the end! 

I like the dots and line drawings, it reminds me of Indigenous art. The way the red and yellow is blended looks just like real fire. I also like how the trees look like they’re shimmering, and the greenness of the grass. The colours on the animals look like fire too. 

The animal drawings are very stylish — I love the goanna’s scaly patterns, and the koala looks just like real life. The baby emus are very cute (they look a bit like zebras). 

The goanna is very rude, and I didn’t like that. The wombat is very nice and kind — which is important because it’s good to be nice. 

The book reminds us that it’s important to have a fire plan to keep safe, and look after our family and friends. 

I like this story, and I give it 10 out of 10. 

Find out more about the book: True Roo: Little Walla and the Bushfire — Miz Crakil   

Sales of the book support Bushfire Survivors for Climate Action. 

Animal influence(r)s 

People often donate to mammals and birds over other species, and they get more social media mentions. But mammals and birds make up less than 10% of all animals on Earth, and 94% of all threatened species on the IUCN Red List are reptiles, fish, amphibians and invertebrates. 

New research has found that the majority (74%!) of Australian wildlife images posted to Instagram by conservation organisations were of mammals and birds. But in measuring audience engagement with the images, birds, reptiles, invertebrates, amphibians and fish were almost equally as engaging for Instagram users. 

As the researchers suggest: “Perhaps it is time to give our creepy crawlies more of the media limelight. The more we see a wide diversity of animals, the more likely we are to support their conservation.” 

Did you know you are a diphyodont? 

Some animals, like sharks, are “polyphyodonts” — they replace their teeth continuously. Mammals lost this ability around 205 million years ago.  

Some mammals, like rodents, have one set of teeth (“monophyodonts”). Echidnas don’t grow any teeth at all! But most mammals replace their teeth only once, like we do (20 baby teeth then 32 adult teeth). This is known as “diphyodonty” (two sets of teeth). 

Until recently, scientists assumed the tammar wallaby (a diphyodont) replaced its teeth in the same way we do. But research using CT scanning and 3D modelling has found this isn’t true and is providing clues as to how humans and other mammals have evolved from ancestors with continuous tooth replacement. 

Find out more: Why do humans grow two sets of teeth? These marsupials are rewriting the story of dental evolution   

Bumblebee backpacks?! 

Researchers are attaching radio transmitters to bumblebee queens in Tasmania’s far south to learn how they could be interacting with native species, and to test the limits of insect-tracking technology. 

3D-printed saddles are glued to the bees’ backs and fitted with tiny radio transmitters. The bees are tracked with a radio receiver for five days. This is the first time this technology has been used on insects! 

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