5 most significant facts

To: Birding-aus <>
Subject: 5 most significant facts
From: John Leonard <>
Date: Wed, 9 Mar 2005 20:07:54 +1100
Hi guys,

Here are my 5 significant facts for the Einstein Factor web-page.

Rohan, I had a look at the Action Plan for Australian Birds 2000, but
I couldn't really do anyhting with the facts because they referred to
'taxa', not something I felt could be explained easily in epigramatic

1.      Zoologists divide the world into bio-geographical regions; the
Australian region has many families of birds unique to it, or found
almost exclusively in it—for example, Lyrebirds, bowerbirds,
honeyeaters, cassowaries and megapodes.
2.      It is thought that the ancestor of all modern song-birds (crows,
honeyeaters, finches &c) lived in Australia around 50 million years
ago, and song-birds spread around the world from Australia.
3.      Australian has an amazing diversity of bird-life; in major cities
on the eastern seaboard it is possible to see up to 10 species of
parrots, a diversity of native species not found in suburban or urban
areas elsewhere in the world.
4.      Since the mid-1990s, the rate of land clearance in Australia has
been increasing. Estimates indicate that about 470,000 hectares (ha)
of land were cleared in 1999, around 90% in Queensland. Land clearance
is a major threat to many Australian birds.
5.      In the last twenty years it is estimated that 250,000 albatrosses,
petrels and other sea-birds have been killed as a result of long-line
fishing in the southern oceans.


1.      Common Knowledge
2.      'Phylogeny and diversification of the largest avian radiation.' F.
Keith Barker et al. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
July 27, 2004 vol. 101  no. 30
3.      Common knowledge
4.      Australian Bureau of Statistics Measuring Australia's Progress,
Headline Indicators 2002
5.      October 2000 CCAMLR (Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic
Marine Living Resources) Report

John Leonard
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