• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Evolution of Australian Biota

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

The Evolution of Australian Biota Question 1: Wegener's Theory: During the 19th and early 20th Centuries, several geologists explored the idea that the continents may have and still are drifting across the Earth's surface. This hypothesis of continental drift was largely developed by German astronomer and meteorologist, Alfred L. Wegener. Wegener suggested that the Earths continents had at one time been joined in two super continents. In 1912 Wegener made the proposal that all the continents were previously one large continent, but then broke apart, and had drifted through the ocean floor to where they are now located. Apart from using the idea that continents fit together like a puzzle, Wegener also used fossil distribution, a similar sequence of rocks at numerous locations, and the apparent wandering of the Earth's polar regions to support his idea. With the help of Alfred L. Wegener's theory much of Australia's geological history can be explained. The puzzle like shape of the continents was one of the first pieces of evidence Wegener noted when exploring his theory of continental drift. Many of today's continents can be manoeuvred so they fit together into a large super continent. ...read more.

Middle

Figure A: Typical Proteaceae Grevillea Fauna species: The Australian Red Kangaroo The Australian Red Kangaroo is an example of an Australian species of fauna that has evolved over time to suit its environment. As the species has evolved certain characteristics have developed as a response to the animals arid and isolated environment. The Australian Red Kangaroo came into existence around 25 million years ago, about 10 million years after Australia split from Antarctica, and preferred rainforest type environments. As a result of Australia's split from Gondwana, about 100 million years ago and later Antarctica, the kangaroo evolved independently in an isolated environment, this is why kangaroo existence is solely limited to areas within Australia. This original kangaroo was tree dwelling and much smaller that today's kangaroos. These kangaroos had opposable digits to suit the trees in which they lived. As Australia became drier and woodlands slowly replaced rainforests around 15 million years ago, the kangaroo was forced to develop into a larger carnivorous animal living in open woodland environments. About 5 to 2 million years ago, Australia's arid areas increased, resulting in the extinction of some species of kangaroo that were unable to adapt to the climate change. ...read more.

Conclusion

This comparison can provide clues to scientists about the evolution of the animals diet, appearance and behaviour over time. Question 4: Adaptations of Australian Plants: Bird/Mammal Pollination: Plants that reproduce through this method include Grevillea and Banksia species. The flowers have features that attract birds and small mammals to the plant. These features include bright, vibrant, conspicuous, coloured flower petals. Some species are fragrant and nectar so that it will attach to the bird or mammal when they eat the nectar and then be passed onto another plant. Insect Pollination: Plants that pollinate this way include the Bottle Bush and others in the myrtaceae family. The flowers of these plants have usually inconspicuous flowers but are lightly scented and some contain nectar. The insects that pollinate the plants include the native and European Bee and other flying insects. These spread the pollen by flying from one plant to another dispersing pollen. Wind Pollination: The plants pollinate through this method include the Casuarina or Sheeoak. These plants use their anthers that are attached to long filaments that extend into the air the release pollen. These features allow the pollen to be easily blown away. These plants have no nectar or scent and have very small or no petals. The male plant has a feathery stigma to accept the pollen. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Living Things in their Environment section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Living Things in their Environment essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Research question - Is using dogs for work ethical?

    5 star(s)

    Ducks attempt to mate with the same specie as its mother, this can end in a bad result as that specie might not be interested. Even though dogs don't regard humans as they're parent, they still bond with them when they are young.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    biology instinctive behaviour

    3 star(s)

    * Operant . . . Operant conditioning is a method of learning that occurs through rewards and punishments for behaviour. Through operant conditioning, an association is made between a specific behaviour and a consequence for that behaviour. We can find examples of operant conditioning all around us, such as children

  1. What Factors are responsible for the success of Insects?

    produces one individual. Members of the order Hymenoptera (ants, bees and wasps) produce haploid males by parthenogenesis. Most insect species have two or more life stages, separated by a period of metamorphosis when they undergo a considerable change in body plan.

  2. Animal behaviour and research into attitudes on animal testing.

    Some animals are monogamous, meaning that they will only have one mating partner in their entire life. This is quite rare and it is estimated that only around 5-7% of animals are monogamous. Examples of monogamous animals include beavers, foxes and jackals.

  1. Dog Behaviour

    Without any sign of aggression the pack leader can control who drinks from a bowl and stops them playing in the moment. You will find that when this dog dies, there will be a time of decision between the other dogs before a new pack leader is decided.

  2. Estimating the population of non-grass plants on the school fields.

    There is an other method, or even extension to the the calculations that I did, this is to look at what area is covered by the different plants. This is would equal out the big difference between the number of small plants like clover and all the other plants that are much bigger.

  1. An Investigation of the Diversity and Abundance of Ground Flora in Coppices of Different ...

    and most of this most air will be unable to escape out of the old coppice with the big trees covering a large percentage of this coppice. -->Temperature can influence the abundance and distribution of plant species and affect the growth of the plant species as higher temperatures can speed up the rate of reactions (photosynthesis).

  2. Is the preferred habitat of moss on the North side of a Yew Tree ...

    I will also sample trees with similar characteristics. I will standardise the circumference of the trees by sampling trees with a similar circumference (1.5 meters). This will also ensure the trees I sample are all of similar age and height.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work