II. Scan the text and decide whether the following statements are true (T) or false (F):
1. Gum trees (eucalypts17) are a vital part of the Australian natural environment. The only major environment where eucalypts are absent is savanna .
2. As Australians became more patriotic towards the end of the 1800s, they began to appreciate Australian native plants more, and started a search for a floral symbol of the country. In 1912, the palm was incorporated into the design of the Australian Coat of Arms14.
3. The dingo is Australia's largest marsupial. Kangaroos travel by hopping on their long hind legs, using their tail for balance. They can reach speeds of up to 60 kilometres per hour and can jump distances of eight metres and heights of around three metres.
4. The koala 19 is the world's largest carnivorous marsupial. It is roughly the size of a dog, and thick-set with a muscular build, a large, wide head and a short, thick tail.
5.The Tasmanian devil is a well-known and popular animal, endemic to Australia but recognized around the world. It is a tree-dwelling marsupial with large furry ears, a prominent black nose, long sharp claws adapted for climbing and no tail.
6. Australian birds are also adapted to wet conditions. Many of these birds are nomadic, travelling from place to place following favourable conditions.
7. Of the 828 bird species listed in Australia, 400 - including the large, flightless
parrots - are found nowhere else. Isolation also allowed for the development of strange birds - as strange as the kangaroo and the koala.
8. There are 55 species of emus in Australia. A map by one of the earliest navigators suggested the Australian continent should be called Terra psittacorum, land of emus.
9. Australia has more species of venomous snakes than any other continent (21 of the world’s 25 deadliest snakes). Fear of snake bites is common among people planning to travel in Australia. However, bites are rare and most often occur when a snake is deliberately provoked by an animal.
10. There are three basic reasons for Australia's diverse organisms. Firstly, since the temperatures on the continent remained constant for such a long period of time, plants and animals were able to evolve and adapt to particular ecological conditions.
11. There are three basic reasons for Australia's diverse organisms. Secondly, the continent was so isolated that it was impossible for outside species to arrive, allowing native forms to develop unimpeded.
12. There are three basic reasons for Australia's diverse organisms. Thirdly, even though the continent is very old, there are areas of high fertility. Some species have remained more or less unchanged for 90 million years.
13. The arrival of Europeans has had a significant impact on Australia’s flora and fauna. There are at least 18 introduced mammals with established feral populations in Australia. Cats and wolves are responsible for the decline and extinction of several native animals.
14. Australia is also the wettest inhabited continent on earth. While Australia is rich in biodiversity, Australian soils are highly dependent on vegetation cover to generate nutrients and provide stability.
15. Climate change poses a particular contribution to specific areas, such as Australia’s alpine regions, the Great Barrier Reef, tropical rainforests, some species of Eucalyptus, and coastal mangrove and wetland systems like Kakadu in the Northern Territory.
III. Read the text about Australia's flora and fauna and Charles Darwin.
Choose the phrase from A to K to fill in the gaps. There is one phrase that you won’t need to use:
Observations of Australia's unique fauna and flora, 1 _____considerations of the continent's geographical isolation, 2 _____Charles Darwin (1809–1882) developing his theory of evolution 3 _____ .
Charles Darwin's theory was that species change over time, or evolve 4 _____ their environment. This theory transformed the way people understood the living world, and provided a logical, 5 _____ for the diversity of life. Darwin's theory of evolution changed the face of science and natural history forever.
While Darwin never saw a kangaroo in Australia, 6 _____ from Sydney to Bathurst, he did see many other species. Darwin made some 7 _____about Australian animals, especially the platypus. At the time, the platypus was regarded as a curious creature, and it baffled 8 _____. Darwin was the first British scientist to see a platypus in its natural environment, 9 _____near Bathurst, in 1836.
For over forty years after his visit, Darwin used and relied upon collections of specimens from Australia that related directly to his 'theoretical concerns at any given time and his recognition 10 _____of the continent'.