This work embraces the story of the koala in Australian history of science and society. It examines the animals long seclusion from discovery (1803); its slow penetration of the European classificatory system and the part played by British and European experts; its emergence, description and depiction in Australia, the important marriage of science and art; the role of the Aborigines; koala destruction through settlement and hunting in the 19th century and its rise as a national identity around Federation.
In the 20th century, the focus shifts to the koala in Australian literature; the advent of the nature park, zoos, transportation, resettlement, and protection by key individuals and organizations; koala as cartoon and political favorite; the surprisingly slow growth of research on the animals biology and the dynamic change in knowledge from the 1990s. The book is studded with key scientific figures and some excellent, widely sourced, pictorial material.
The books distinctive character attaches to Moyals reputation as a historian of science in blending scientific scholarship with an engaging and widely accessible historical narrative.
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