Tuesday, March 15, 2011

They Do What, How?!?!?

me with a basket on my head
boat with clay pit, it's kinda hard to see
water/baby carrier
shield map
boomerang and shield

bird net
giant boomerang (used for ceremonies not hunting...could you imagine throwing that thing?)
spear throwers
demonstration of spear throwing

So, you can ignore the pictures above for now, for the sole purpose of the fact that I can’t figure out how to make them go beneath the text, but I will talk about them later. In fact, if we’re friends on fb, you may have already seen them, but they will be a nice aid to go with when I talk about the things I learned about the Aboriginal culture when I took a tour at the museum. The title of this post would I suppose more accurately be named “Some random stuff I’ve learned so far” but that’s not nearly as exciting as the current title, and I promise you it is completely relevant. Before I talk about what I learned about the Aboriginals, I thought I talk about something completely irrelevant to Australia that I learned in Animal Reproduction: Bed Bug Mating

This is probably one of the weirdest things that I’ve ever heard, and I warn you now this may be a bit gross to some, or a bit in appropriate, but I’ll try to make it as un-awkward as possible even though it’s a totally awkward and weird topic. But yes, last week we went on a field trip for Animal Reproduction (where I got to artificially inseminate a sheep btw!!!) and as part of the trip, we watched a video on how different animals mate. An interesting fact that I learned is that with some species of bird, and I suppose some other animals may be able to do this as well, if an unwanted partner mates with them, they can push the unwanted sperm from their body. An odder fact is that dragonflies have a spiked penis that they use to scrape sperm from the reproductive tract of the female. However, the female repro tract is formed in a way that there are ridges behind where the sperm can hide. As strange as the previous two have seemed, there was no comparison to the bed bug. It was by far the weirdest. The male bed bug can penetrate the female in any part of her body and it injects sperm into her bloodstream. People always say that the sperm has a long journey from the entryway of the vagina to the oviducts in humans; however that doesn’t even compare to the journey the sperm of the bedbug take. The bedbug’s sperm must travel through the females bloodstream until it finds its way to the egg. Weird enough for you yet? Nope, it gets sooo much weirder. Not only can the male penetrate the female in any part of the body, males can penetrate other males, including while one male is mating with another female. If a male penetrates another male, his sperm journey is to travel through the blood stream until it reaches the testes, where it can then be transferred to another female. So not even the male bedbug can ensure its paternity to the female it mates with. So that’s something I’ve learned that was quite interesting since I’ve been here.

Now on to the Aboriginals. There are estimated to have been around 600 different aboriginal nations, all speaking different languages. The ones that inhabited the area of Adelaide were called the Kaurna (pronounced almost like Ghana, at least with an Australian accent) people. They’re society was led by a group of elders and they delegated decisions, discussions, and tasks as male business and female business. It was very much a hunter-gatherer society, and because they couldn’t be bogged down with having to carry a bunch of tools, many of their tools were dual purpose. They usually followed the wildlife which was part of their source of food; however, they didn’t go too far out distance-wise so they generally stayed in the same territory. But back to the dual purpose tools. The first picture (from the bottom going up) is of the spear thrower which doubled as a scraper. It was pretty cool in how advanced it was for the time period in which it was used. The design allowed for a further distance thrown as well as enhanced accuracy. Then there was the boomerang. Contrary to common belief, not all boomerangs returned to you. Some were actually quite club shaped in their design. Also contrary to common belief, they didn’t throw the boomerangs into the air and knock the birds from the air. That would be extremely difficult, as well as quite inefficient because on the occasion that you happened to hit a bird, you’ve only got one after heaps of effort. What they did in fact do with the boomerangs was throw them at the birds to get them to fly into the direction of the bird net that they had set up in a nearby tree. The boomerang could also be used to start fires by rubbing it against a groove that was in their shields. This was possible due to the fact that one was made of soft wood and the other of hard. Paintings on their shields also could be used as maps based on the colorings and patterns. I’m pretty sure there was a container that they used to carry water in that doubled as a baby carrier as well. Unfortunately I took the tour the first week I was here, but failed to write about it until now, so that’s pretty much all the detail that I can remember. I’m pretty sure that’s it, which means this has made to be one of my shorter posts.

Until next time, never stop learning! After all, “knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.” (Proverbs 2:10b)


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