by chelsea schuyler
I just wanna make sure we’re clear on how awesome the kangaroo actually is. Besides the name, which is arguably the coolest animal name ever (defenders of “wallaroo” being the coolest name ever duly noted), and the fact that groups of roos are called “mobs.”
ANYWAY there are 48 species of kangaroo in Australia, and nowhere else, cuz Australia ain’t sharin nuthin. The three main Whoa! that I would like you to take away from this blog are:
1) Kangaroos are indeterminate growers. Meaning: So you know how we grow up, and then we stop at whatever height we are genetically programmed to? (some of us less fortunate in height as others, but no less notable (Agent Scully was 5’2”–just sayin))
Well, kangaroos don’t have that stop button, and actually, neither do most fish and reptiles but that seems more normal cuz they’re weird as it is, gills and scales and all that. But kangaroos are mammally and furred and therefore much more like my cat, and if my cat keeps growing
I’m gonna have to start buying giant toy mice and this blog ain’t exactly payin’ the bills you know?* The “so-called” kangaroo just keeps growing and growing until their body and organs can’t support itself anymore, or more likely they die from disease or predation or blah blah, GIANT KANGAROOS!
2) Kangaroos use very little energy to hop. And by hop I of course mean freakishly leap in their own personal transportation system that can carry them 30 feet at a time at 40 miles an hour. They got big feet n’all but seriously that would take some serious effort, they weigh like 150 pounds (or do they? indeterminate growth!) and I don’t care how long your feet are that would get so tiring.
What’s actually going on in there is that their legs are basically a giant spring that is coiled at a resting state and sprung at a jumping state, and brilliantly harvests the energy from each jump. Which is why everyone loves a kangaroo, because everyone loves a slinky. Which is a relative of the spring. De facto love, if you will.
If only we could assess a roo’s age by whether or not they make the sound of a 20 year old bed spring every time they landed and took off. squeak SQUEAK! ….squeak SQUEAK! 10 miles.
YOU WOULD THINK they’d be outta breath after all that hoppin, but they’ve got the system down. Everytime their legs leave the ground their abdominal muscles lag behind, contracting and sucking in air in the resulting vacuum, then when they land the air is forced out. The lungs just sit back and let the physics of jumping do the work. Kangaroo as a result uses less energy breathing while jumping than they do standing. Dangaroo!
3) There were flesh-eating, prehistoric kangaroos. Back in the pre days it was an amazing, crackpipe Australia, with short-faced, carnivorous kangaroos (why Wally, why??); marsupial lions (pOUCH); and giant, freaky birds (actually nicknamed the “Demon Duck of Doom” – oh you scientists).
But it’s true, these crazy anthropologists in 2006 found wolf-fanged, saber-toothed (yes, both) kangaroo heads from animals that didn’t hop but galloped with powerful forelimbs.
Which is a little too creepy/horror movie for me to think about for long. Like cottage cheese.
*anyone wishing to donate funds or charitable goods to said bills please do contact me from my Who IS genius behind this astounding literature? page.