Evolution of Australian Biota

Topics: Plant, Cassowary, Vascular plant Pages: 3 (713 words) Published: August 24, 2013
Evolution of Australian Biota

Baragwanthia fossils were first discovered in Yea, Victoria in 1875 and were first described as a lycopod which was derived from the Zosterophylls by Australia’s eminent pioneer botanist, Dr Isobel Cookson in 1935. The Fossils of Baragwanthia are believed to date back to the Silurian times. Baragwanthia had long pores which were roughly 1-2 millimetres in radius and is densely covered in leaves that are 4cm in length. The stems could be up to 1 metre in length although this club moss is no longer living. Baragwanthia evolved from the water depending algae, What isn't clear is whether there was a single precursor land plant, and the evolutionary path that was followed between the algae and vascular land plants. It is thought that the vascular land plants probably developed from the Green Algae (Chlorophyta). One extant species which is often cited is Fritschiella of the Charophyaceae. Another uncertainty is whether the vascular plants and non-vascular plants had a common ancestor, or whether the vascular plants evolved from the non-vascular plants. Current thinking is that the Charophyaceae contains a common ancestor for tracheophytes and bryophytes.

Casuarius Casuarius Johnsonii
The Casuarius Casuarius Johnsonii or the Southern Cassowary is the heaviest flightless bird found in Australia. The southern cassowary is found in tropical rainforests and swamps of Northern Queensland. The cassowary has course like feathers, with a tall brown helmet like casque on its head and one of its 3 toes has a dagger shaped claw for scratching and fighting. The Cassowary can grow up to 2 metres tall and weigh up to 76 kilograms. Cassowary fossils are very uncommon due but some have been dated back to the Miocene period and were found the Northern Territory although, local inhabitants are known to have traded live cassowaries for hundreds, if not thousands, of years, some of which are likely to have escaped/been...

Bibliography: Websites
Nan Crystal Arens, Encyclopedia Britannica, last accessed:15/08/13, URL: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/52553/Baragwanathia
M.H.Monroe, Australia: The Land Where Time Began, Last accessed:15/08/13, URL: http://austhrutime.com/baragwanathia_flora.htm
Author Unknown, Melbourne Museum, Last accessed:15/08/13, URL:
Author Unknown, Queensland Government, Last accessed: 15/08/13, URL: http://www.ehp.qld.gov.au/wildlife/threatened-species/endangered/endangered-animals/cassowary.html

Anne Musser, Australian Museum, Last accessed: 15/08/13, URL: http://australianmuseum.net.au/Diprotodon-optatum
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