National Geographic : 1916 Dec
Photograph from Boston Photo News Co. THE NATIONAL BIRD-TIE EMU The emu is a bird that has relied on its legs for so long and used its wings so little that it now cannot fly if it wants to, its wings having degenerated into mere rudimentary mem bers. It fights only in self-defense, but it can kick sidewise as well as backward, sometimes with force enough to break a man's leg. Papa Emu is an amiable person, taking most of the cares of the household off the shoulders of his mate. The ostrich has plumes and only two toes, while the emu's feathers almost resemble hair, and it has three toes (see page 505). self from the sun. He does not bother with clothes except when the weather is particularly bad, and then bark or the skin of the kangaroo is used without sew ing or fashioning. Some tribes use rushes and seaweed for temporary clothing or make a blanket from the dried scum of lakes. For boats pieces of bark tied at the end and daubed with clay suffice. He makes no pottery, and cooking utensils are represented by stones for crushing roots and seeds, stone knives, and a rudely fashioned scoop which serves as a dish, a spade, and as a re ceptacle for carrying water. He knows nothing of agriculture, and his one do mesticated animal is the dingo, a half wild (log. The geography of Australia is such that localities where food and water are sufficient for a large number of people are very scarce. There are no wild ce reals, and the native fruits are few in number, restricted in distribution and of meager nutriment, while water must be searched for over half the continent. The different tribes therefore have no fixed abode beyond vaguely defined limits inside of which they roam in search of food like packs of hunting animals. The groups are necessarily small and their re lations are governed by fear and sus picion. Infrequent contact has resulted in the development of many languages within the same race. In "one district less than 300 miles square seven lan guages are spoken, one of them in two dialects, one in five." MOST EXPERT OF IIUNTERS In endurance and speed he is not the equal of the American Indian, and his weapons of wood and poorly fashioned stones are effective only at short range; but as a hunter the native Australian is marvelously adjusted to his environment.