illustration from 1792 of a male specimen of Struthio camelus, the African ostrich – however is that this species alive
and effectively 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 had been from an ogre-like
monster – the tjangara or spinifex man.


initially assumed that these had been merely tracks of the frequent 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
exhibiting its basically two-toed format – its very small third toe is simply too
brief to depart any noticeable impression in footprints (© Dr Karl Shuker)

the idea of ostriches residing wild in Australia is certainly not ludicrous –
removed from it. Small populations of feral (run-wild) ostriches nonetheless persist
north of Adelaide, South Australia, as an example, descended from specimens
launched by ostrich farmers after World Battle I, when the feather market collapsed.


Ostriches had 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
intervals of time, in 1971 veteran American zoologist and cryptozoologist Ivan T.
Sanderson prompt in a brief Pursuit article
that some ex-farm specimens could not solely have survived and bred but in addition have
discreetly prolonged their vary throughout the intervening desertlands into Western
Australia, and thence to Laverton.  (By the way,
it’s recognized that ostriches had been launched in Western Australia earlier than 1912, however
these ‘formally’ died out with out establishing a inhabitants.)


Feminine ostrich (© Dr Karl

would provide a believable rationalization 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 could have been confirmed by now.


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

This ShukerNature article is excerpted
from my ebook The Beasts That Disguise From Man

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