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Raising Emus

发表于 1-7-2019 14:29:45 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
The great Texas emu bubble | An Investment That Never Took off; What if tulips had been six feet tall and ran at 50km an hour?


"The world's second largest bird after the ostrich, the emu is native to Australia and has long been a source of mystical inspiration -- and sustenance -- for aboriginals. The big bird claims a place in Australia's coat of arms, stamps and 50-cent coin. It even sparks a military deployment, the Great Emu War of 1932, when soldiers were sent to Western Australia to kill them and thereby saved the farmers' crops. The emus won.

" * * * the three-toed bird * * *  the emu was also seen as a potential source of red meat -- a healthier version of beef. It was in this guise, as livestock, that emu came to Texas in the 1980s.  [Texas had an emu bubble:] Enthusiasm and emu-friendly regulations saw the price of a breeding pair of emus, just a few hundred dollars in the late 1980s, rise [because of 'saw' -- not 'rose'] to a whopping $28,000 by 1993. The next year it doubled again. The American Emu Association, an industry group, saw its membership rise 27-fold between 1988 and 1994, to 5,500 members,m most of them in Texas. * * * the state [Texas] has a long history of raising cattle for slaughter * ** Some boosters also heralded the potential of ostriches, but emus won out  over their ratite cousins.

"As in all bubbles, from the 17th-century Dutch 'tulipmania' to 21st-century bitcoin, words of the wonders of the emu spread * * * Their boosters were keen to point out that there was more to emu than steak. They provided oil for lotion, skin for leather, feathers for clothes and enormous emerald eggs for four-person omelettes. * * * And Texas ;aw was, and is, extremely lax when it comes to the import of exortic animals. The state is believed to have more tigers living in captivity in backyards than exists in the wild worldwide ['The global wild population is estimated to number between 3,062 and 3,948 individuals, down from around 100,000 at the start of the 20th century * * * with 2,000 of the total population living on the Indian subcontinent': Wikipedia for Tiger].

"they [emus] do have redeeming features. They need much less land to graze than cows. They are quieter, too, except during the breeding [I will say 'mating'] season. the birds have a powerfully proto-feminist attitude to the patriarchy. Females choose males, rather than vice versa, sometimes going so far as to fight over them [males]. Males take on the responsibility of incubating the eggs, refusing to leave the nest to eat or drink for weeks at a time, and then raising their chicks as single parents. * * * They are as tall as human beings, growing up to 190cm (6 feet 2 inches) and easily weighing 55kg (120lb). Being the only bird with calf muscle helps them sprint at up to 50kph (30mph) * * * They can also kick.

"And raising the birds was not cheap. * * * Emu claims lower cholesterol and fat, and higher iron, but it is more expensive than beef and less familiar. * * * As the hoped-for demand failed to materialise, the supply continued to increase. Emus lay 5-15 eggs in each clutch and can keep doing so for more than 15 years. The bubb;e [p[[ed painfully [in Texas]. By 1998 e,us were worthless. * * * One result is that there are mobs of feral emus in parts of Texas * * * More recently India experienced its own emu boom * * * They [Indians] made the same mistake Texans did by focusing on hatching new birds instead of creating demand for the meat. The market collapsed in 2013.


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 楼主| 发表于 1-7-2019 14:51:32 | 显示全部楼层
(i) There is no need to read the rest.
(ii) The title is a pun.

take off (vi):
"1 a : to start off or away often suddenly : SET OUT, DEPART  <took off for her trip>
    b : to leave the surface : begin flight
    c : to spring into wide use or popularity"

(b) "The big bird [emu] claims a place in Australia's coat of arms"
(i) coat of arms of Australia
(ii) coat of arms
(A coat of arms is traditionally unique to an individual person, family, state, organization or corporation)
(iii) national coat of arms
(An important use for national coats of arms is as the main symbol on the covers of passports)

Read the entire page.
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 楼主| 发表于 1-7-2019 14:52:46 | 显示全部楼层
(i) common ostrich (flightless; native to Africa; "can run for a long time at a speed of 55 km/h (34 mph) or even up to about 70 km/h (43 mph), the fastest land speed of any bird. The common ostrich is the largest living species of bird and lays the largest eggs of any living bird (extinct elephant birds [extinct '1000–1200 CE, for reasons that are unclear, although human activity is the suspected cause'] of Madagascar and the giant moa [Polynesians (read: aborigines from Taiwan) hunted it for food; were extinct by 1500] of New Zealand laid larger eggs). * * * Common ostriches usually weigh from 63 to 145 kilograms (139–320 lb) * * * At sexual maturity (two to four years), male common ostriches can be from 2.1 to 2.8 m (6 ft 11 in to 9 ft 2 in) in height, while female common ostriches range from 1.7 to 2.0 m (5 ft 7 in to 6 ft 7 in) tall."  en.wikipedia.org for "common ostrich."
(A) emu (brown; "forage for a variety of plants and insects, but have been known to go for weeks without eating. They drink infrequently, but take in copious amounts of water when the opportunity arises. * * * Females can mate several times and lay several clutches of eggs in one season. * * * The bird features prominently in Indigenous Australian mythology. * * * Emus form breeding pairs during the summer months of December and January, and may remain together for about five months. * * * Mating usually takes place between April and June [autumn in Australia] * * * The eggs are on average 13 cm × 9 cm (5.1 in × 3.5 in) and weigh between 450 and 650 g (1.0 and 1.4 lb). * * * the eight-week incubation period [chicken: 21 days] * * * emus are the only birds with gastrocnemius muscles in the back of the lower legs * * * the emu has sharp claws on its toes which are its major defensive attribute, and are used in combat to inflict wounds on opponents by kicking.

The quotation says "emus are the only birds with gastrocnemius muscles in the back of the lower legs." So does
Emu. Animal Corner, undated
("Emus are the only birds with gastrocnemius muscles (the same as human calf muscles) in the back of the lower legs")

* But it is simply untrue. All birds have gastrocnemius, including chickens. The difference:
Patak AE and Baldwin J, Pelvic Limb Musculature in the Emu Dromaius novaehollandiae (Aves: Struthioniformes: Dromaiidae): Adaptations to High-Speed Running. Journal of Morphology, 238: 23-37 (1998)
(abstract: "Emus provide an excellent opportunity for studying sustained high-speed running by a bird. * * * Several anatomical features of the pelvic limb reflect the emus' ability for sustained running at high speeds: * * * (2) emus are unique among birds in having a M. ['M.' stands for Latin noun masculine meaning muscle; before, anatomy was written in Latin but a few decades ago, English has started dominating such that in humans, 'musculus anconeus' is now 'anconeus muscle'] gastrocnemius, the most powerful muscle in the shank, that has four muscle bellies, not the usual three")
* Humans also have
gastrocnemius muscle

The "c" in "gastrocnemius" is pronounced, as "k."
* comparative anatomy:
Scott Hartman, Um hey, Scientific American? Bird Knees Bend the Same Way as Everyone Else. undated.
http://www.skeletaldrawing.com/h ... can-bird-knees.html

No need to read text; pay attention to the figure at the bottom. Human leg is equivalent, in terms of anatomy and revolution, to the drumstick of a chicken -- or an emu. Also, the legend to the figure reads, "(PRESBYORNIS COPYRIGHT SCOTT HARTMAN, OTHER SKELETALS MODIFIED AFTER CHARLES KNIGHT.)"  See Charles R Knight
(1874 – 1953; American)
(B) Emu. San Diego Zoo, undated.

two consecutive paragraphs:

"Emus form breeding pairs in the summer [in Australia] and stay together through the fall, when the first clutch of eggs is laid. The male builds a rough nest of twigs, leaves, and grass on the ground where the female lays 5 to 15 avocado-green eggs over several days. When finished, the female wanders off, leaving the male to incubate the eggs. It's a good thing he ate extra food to build up his reserves of body fat before the breeding season! Why? He stays on the nest for the next eight weeks, getting up only to turn the eggs and tidy the nest. The male loses up to one-third of his body weight.

"The female may or may not find another male to mate with during this time. She might even find the nest of another emu pair where she can lay her eggs and let that father do the work. In a good season, a female emu may lay three complete clutches!
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 楼主| 发表于 1-7-2019 14:53:53 | 显示全部楼层
(i) ratite (n): "a bird with a flat breastbone"
(ii) ratite
("is any of a diverse group of flightless and mostly large and long-legged birds * * * Kiwi, however, are relatively much smaller and shorter-legged, as well as being the only nocturnal ratites. * * * the ratites have no keel on their sternum – hence the name from the Latin [noun feminine] ratis (raft, a vessel which has no keel). Without this to anchor their wing muscles, they could not fly even if they were to develop suitable wings")

Human breastbone (medical term: sternum) has no keel, either.

(e) "emus have three-toes"

bird feet and legs
(section 3 Toe arrangements: [One arrangement is, such as chickens,] three toes in front (2, 3, 4), and one in back (1); in nearly all songbirds and most other perching birds

An emu does not have the spur, the one facing back. See spur (zoology)
(section 3 In birds: "Most birds have four toes. The first points backwards in most species while the second, third and fourth digits point forwards. The fifth toe is lost completely except in some birds where it has become a spur"
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