"Native Australian budgerigars are blue in colour" according to the
authors of the Australian Year 10 Science text called Science Quest
4: for the curriculum and Standards Framework II, published in 2000.
So although it appears we cannot be sure how many bird watchers there
are in Australia, it is clear that as we are not getting through to
our teachers that publish text books. There are either not enough of
us or we are not doing as much as we can to educate our society on
our native birds.
The authors of this current text actually make many false
statements. Just one more example relating to birds follows.
They claim that “the fossil record also gives evidence that species
have changed over time, and may show how new species arose.” They use
Archaeopteryx as an example and claim that its morphology has allowed
scientists to deduce “that birds have evolved from a dinosaur ancestor.”
Well for a book published in 2000 the authors should have taken
notice of many science writers over previous years, before they chose
their example. These two statements - published well before this
text are examples of literature that could have helped prevent them
from making this error.
“We are not even authorised to consider the exceptional case of the
Archaeopteryx as a true link. …An animal displaying
to two different groups cannot be treated as a true link as
long as the
intermediary stages have not been found, and as long as the
mechanisms of transition remain unknown.” P.L. du Nouy.
Human Destiny. NY. 1947.
Bird footprints are more common in Mesozoic sediments than is generally
recognised …. Those in the lower Cretaceous and Jurassic are
stratigraphically lower than Archaeopteryx and therefore
evidence that Archaeopteryx is not the ancestor of modern
Lockley, M.G., S.Y. Yang, M. Matsukawa, F.
Fleming & S.K. Lim. 1992. The Track Records of
Mesozoic birds: Evidence and implications.
Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. Lond. B 336: 113-134.
So I think it is clear we need to teach our youngsters to challenge
everything they hear and read, and to look widely and thoroughly
before making concrete statements relating to science. Part of
looking widely could be learning something about birds.
Happy birding and thinking.
Oh yes if you have seen any swifts lately please let me know TIA.
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