Zoo News

Zoo News - Volume 40, March 2020

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ZOONEWS MEMBER MAGAZINE • AUTUMN 2020 • 7 et ready to celebrate all things prehistoric. From 28 March to 12 July, Zoos Victoria is once again bringing dinosaurs back from extinction, with animatronic dinosaurs and fun activities featuring at Healesville Sanctuary, Melbourne Zoo and Werribee Open Range Zoo. Discover what dinosaurs can teach us about extinction at Melbourne Zoo's top‑secret Dino Lab. Do they hold the key to fighting extinction of modern species? At Werribee Open Range Zoo, the whole family will get a kick out of encountering lifelike animatronic dinosaurs along the Werribee River Trail. The dinosaurs officially wake up at 10am daily, but at 9am–9.45am small children and sound‑sensitive people can enjoy quiet time with Docile Dreamy Dinosaurs. The Dinosaur Fossil Dig Pit will delight budding paleontologists. Healesville Sanctuary is where you'll find both dinosaurs and megafauna (such as the Woolly Mammoth). Up to 36 beasts will roar to life at the Sanctuary, with roving Mega Keepers telling stories about the creatures they look after. Children of all ages will have fun dressing up and playing with puzzles and games in the Mega Keeper Headquarters. ZN G Many animal species have links to dinosaurs from the Jurassic period — they could be their great-great- (times a hundred million)-grandparents. Some of them you can see for yourself at Melbourne Zoo. Here are two to look out for: Case files CASSOWARY // Ten-year-old Zillie the Cassowary lives at Melbourne Zoo and can often be found hanging out by the visitor window waiting for her adoring fans to stop by. With striking blue and red features, and an impressive casque (also known as a helmet) sitting at the apex of her head, Zillie certainly stands out. If you look closely, you'll find Zillie has a special feature that links her to prehistoric creatures that roamed Earth more than a hundred million years ago. Zillie's three large weapon-like toes (one of which is similar to a razor) were also a feature of a family of feathered dinosaurs called Dromaeosaurids. "Cassowaries make up part of the ratite order (which also includes birds like Ostriches and Emus). Ratites began to evolve around 60 million years ago, back when non-avian dinosaurs were the dominant faunal life form on Earth," explains Caroline Fieldus, Zoo Keeper at the Australian Bush Trail at Melbourne Zoo. Name CASSOWARY Class BIRD Status ENDANGERED Region NORTH QUEENSLAND LC NT VU EN CR EW EX Least concern Critically Endangered Extinct EN Zillie the Cassowary Did you know? New species of dinosaurs are still being unearthed in Australia. In 2017, Queensland grazier Bob Elliott found the fossilised remains of a new species of pterosaur named Ferrodraco lentoni, a flying reptile with a wingspan of four metres that lived 96 million years ago. Image Credit: Rick Hammond

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