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


    initially assumed that these have been merely tracks of the widespread Australian emu Dromaius novaehollandiae, however swiftly
    retracted this view – as a result of emus go away three-toed variations. Just one
    identified 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 just too
    brief to go away any noticeable impression in footprints (© Dr Karl Shuker)

    the idea of ostriches dwelling wild in Australia is in no way 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 Conflict I, when the feather market collapsed.


    Ostriches have 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 fowl that may journey nice distances in brief
    durations of time, in 1971 veteran American zoologist and cryptozoologist Ivan T.
    Sanderson advised in a brief Pursuit article
    that some ex-farm specimens could not solely have survived and bred but additionally have
    discreetly prolonged their vary throughout the intervening desertlands into Western
    Australia, and thence to Laverton.  (By the way,
    it’s identified that ostriches have 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 Conceal From Man