beasts: New Guinea

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After mating, the female cassowary will lay three to six large, green eggs.  Once these eggs are laid, the female’s job is done, and she will wander off to find another male to mate with.  It is the father who constructs a nest of waterproof vegetation and incubates the eggs for the next fifty days.  A devoted parent, the male will not leave his eggs until they have hatched.  A broody male cassowary does not need to eat, drink, or even defecate for the entire period of incubation.

Cassowary chicks are small, beige in colour, with dark brown stripes.  The father will protect his new family with devotion, showing them what foods to eat and ferociously protecting them from predators.  The chicks will stay with their father for the next nine months.

It has also been noted in zoos that cassowary chicks will imprint readily on anyone who is present when they hatch, including humans.  These chicks are then extremely tame and will follow their adopted parent anywhere.  In some native villages in New Guinea, cassowary chicks are even kept as pets and left to wander loose through the village, like chickens.  However, even the tamest chick will turn savage and dangerous upon reaching adulthood.  

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New Guinea during World War I — The Battle of Bita Paka and the Siege of Toma,

While World War I typically brings up scenes of trench warfare from the Western Front. However World War I was fought by people from all over the world on battlefields all over the world. Before World War I, New Guinea was divided in two, the northern half controlled by Germany, the southern half British (administered by Australia). The islands of New Guinea were especially important for Germany because they were home to many supply and communications stations for the German East Asiatic Squadron, a fleet of cruisers which harassed Allied shipping in the Pacific and Indian Ocean throughout the war. 

As soon as the war began, the Australian government and military began planning for an operation to seize New Guinea. It would become the first independent Australian military operation and result in the first Australian casualties of the war. The operation was conducted by the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force, consisting of 3,000 soldiers and sailors. Australia was quickly able to seize most of New Guinea without resistance, however at a radio station at a small village called Bita Paka on New Britain Island was a force of 61 German soldiers and 240 native police who were determined to fight.

On September 11th, 1914 a force of 500 Australian soldiers approached Bita Paka intent on capturing the radio station. There they were met by the German and native soldiers who fought a retreating skirmish, until eventually the settled into trenches and fortifications. The Germans had intended to draw the Australians into a trap, a  pipe mines which were to be detonated when the Australians advanced across a road. However the Australians were able to locate and disable the mine, foiling the German plans. 

With superior numbers, the Australians were able to quickly outflank and overwhelm the German lines. The Germans retreated 19 miles through the dense jungle to the village of Toma, hoping to hold out until the East Asiatic Squadron arrived with reinforcements. However, the Australians would follow them with a 12 pounder artillery piece and commence bombardment of the village.  Most of the native soldiers fled in panic, convincing the Germans to surrender. One German officer named Hermann Detzner escaped into the jungle with 20 native soldiers, where he spent the rest of the war in hiding.  At the end of the operation six Australian soldiers were dead and four wounded. The Germans suffered 1 German officer dead, 30 native soldiers killed, and 11 wounded. 

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Narrative of the voyage of H.M.S. Rattlesnake, commanded by the late Captain Owen Stanley during the years 1846-50, including discoveries and surveys in New Guinea, the Louisiade Archipelago, etc

By Macgillivray, John, 1822-1867
Busk, George, 1807-1886
Forbes, Edward, 1815-1854
Publication info; London :T. & W. Boone,1852.
Contributor:
MBLWHOI Library
biodiv library

Murray

In Papua New Guinea there is a cryptid called the Murray. It was first seen by a canoe of native villagers. The next day it was claimed to be seen by two missionaries. People say that it is as big as a dump truck. This animal is said to be a bipedal, amphibious creature, approximately 6-feet in width, with two, short forelimbs, legs as wide as palm tree trunks, a long neck, and a slender tail. The creature’s head has been compared to that of a large eyed bovine with teeth as long as a man’s fingers. Its back is said to have “largish triangular scoops” and its epidermis has been likened to that of the more familiar crocodile. It looks like a T-rex and could be a surviving one. It is often confused with the Carolina Murray lake monster Messie. After it was accused of eating some dogs, six policemen with M-16 assault rifles and some villagers carrying bush knives tried to find the monster but found nothing. In June of 2000, reports emanating from Irian Jaya (the Indonesian section of New Guinea) stated that missionaries had traveled to the Lake Murray region armed with paleontology books in order to confirm these reports. According to this account, island natives grew agitated when they saw the images of a dinosaur which they believed to be the monster in the lake. It was spotted by a man who saw it while playing tennis in during June, 2013.

Amelia Earhart’s Disappearance ,mystery yet to be solved?

Amelia Earhart’s disappearance is still one of the most famous mysteries. In an attempt to fly around the world, the American pilot and her co-pilot vanished near Howland Island,24 hours after leaving Lae, New Guinea in the central Pacific Ocean in 1937.


The Mystery of Aemelia Earhart has captured the imagination of young and old, amateur and professional, since she disappeared on July 2, 1937 on her flight over the Pacific which would complete her around-the-world flight - the longest (following the equatorial route) and the first by a woman.
Despite a $4m search which covered 250,000 square miles of ocean, no trace of the pair was ever found. Most researchers believe that the plane ran out of fuel and ditched into the sea.

Theories about disappearance

There are three main hypotheses – that is, educated guesses that can be tested through research and exploration:

Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, disappeared over the Pacific in 1937. What happened to them?

1. They crashed at sea;

2. They were captured by the Japanese military and died; or

3. They landed on Nikumaroro, an uninhabited coral atoll in what is now the Republic of Kiribati, survived for awhile but finally died.

Despite massive search efforts by the U.S. Navy, Earhart and her plane wreckage were never found. The longtime mystery has led to creative conspiracy theories. Among the most popular are that she was a spy and that she landed and was executed by the Japanese. Another one claimed that she survived, moved to New Jersey and assumed a new identity.

For a long time, the most likely explanation was that the plane ran out of fuel and the flyers ditched or crashed and then died at sea. More recently, another theory has gained some traction. It holds that the flyers landed on uninhabited Nikumaroro Island, formerly called Gardner Island.

According to the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), Earhart and Noonan survived on the island for several weeks. They caught fish, seabirds and turtles and collected rainwater. Earhart died at a campsite on the island’s southeast end. Noonan’s fate is unknown.

This theory is based on on-site investigations that have revealed improvised tools, bits of clothing, plexiglass and an aluminum panel. In May 2012, investigators found a jar of freckle cream that some believe could have belonged to Earhart. Additionally, reports of lost distress calls have been reported.

Also, in 1940, a British Colonial Service officer found a partial skeleton on the island, as well as a campfire, animal bones, a sextant box and remnants of a man’s shoe and a woman’s shoe. The officer thought he may have discovered Earhart’s remains, but a doctor believed the skeleton to be male, and American authorities were not notified. The bones were later lost. Recent computerized analysis of the skeleton’s measurements suggests that the skeleton was probably that of a white, northern European female.

TIGHAR has led several expeditions to the island and found artifacts that suggest they were left by an American woman of the 1930s. The organization plans more expeditions in the next few years.