To many people, the suggestion that a kangaroo could live up a tree is fantasy. Yet, in the rainforests of Far North Queensland and New Guinea, there are extraordinary kangaroos that do just that. Many aspects of these marsupials' anatomy and biology suggest a terrestrial kangaroo ancestor. Yet no one has, so far, come forward with a convincing explanation of how, why and when mammals that was so superbly adapted for life on the ground should end up back in the trees.
This book reviews the natural history and biology of tree-kangaroos from the time of their first discovery by Europeans in the jungles of West Papua in 1826 right up to the present day, covering the latest research being conducted in Australian and New Guinea. Combining information from a number of disparate disciplines, the author sets forth the first explanation of this apparent evolutionary conundrum.
Provides a fascinating and readable account of an unusual evolutionary conundrum
Written by a field biologist with more than a decade’s experience working with tree-kangaroos
1. A tree-climbing kangaroo?
2. Tree-kangaroo taxonomy
3. Adaptations for an arboreal life
4. The rainforest canopy: A bountiful world
5. Evolutionary history
6. The rainforest canopy: A dangerous world
7. Parasites, pathogens and other irritations
8. Population density and spatial requirements
9. Sex and reproduction
Appendix - Basic information for each species
Natural history enthusiasts; amateur and professional zoologists; and students.
"In this wonderful book, Martin describes his life’s work with tree kangaroos, a peculiar, but fascinating group of marsupials that have often been overlooked by scientists and laymen alike. We found Martin to be a fluid writer who held our attention despite the level of detail of the material and the inclusion of abundant data. Included in the book is the “first explanation of this apparent evolutionary conundrum,” and a tour de force of his supporting logic and compelling evidence."
Richard Sherwin & Samuel Skalak, Journal of Mammalogy Vol 89, June 2009
"Anyone interested in the conservation of native marsupial species should read this volume." Michael L. Augee, The Quarterly Review of Biology, March 2006
"Roger Martin has added another fine book to the Australian Natural History Series, now published by CSIRO. Highly recommended." Peter Menkhorst, Australian Zoologist, Vol.33, No.3, June 2006
"This book is a must for anyone interested in the mammals of our corner of the world – you won't be disappointed." Dr John Winter, Wildlife Australia Magazine, Summer 2005
"Supplies state-of-the-art information on a rather exotic group of mammals." P. Langer, Giessen, Mammalian Biology, 2006
Roger Martin has had an enduring interest in the natural history, conservation and management of Australia’s forest mammals for more than 30 years. Described by Tim Flannery as ‘one of the most experienced field zoologists that I know’, he has published numerous scientific papers, written popular articles and lectured in wildlife courses to tertiary students. Since the late 1980s, he has studied Australia’s rarest tree-kangaroo, Bennett’s Tree-kangaroo, in the monsoon forests of Far North Queensland.