“Ever since I was little, I have wanted to be a palaeontologist one day. I really enjoy going with my Dad to the Emu Bay Shale or similar areas that we have travelled to, like Winton QLD, searching and digging around for fossils and trilobites, that sort of thing. I love doing it. It is just interesting seeing what life looked like in the past. I have a palaeontologist friend who is based in Adelaide, at the South Australian Museum.  At the Emu Bay Shale, where we were invited to have a look, I found a large trilobite and it was a roughly thirty centimetres long specimen of Redlichia rex from the Ediacaran period. I was born on KI, lived here all my life but travel a lot to see my Canadian and American family overseas. Mum is from Saskatchewan in Canada and we usually go there every second year, but because of Covid, we haven’t been able to do that which has been sad. I haven’t been overseas for about three years now. I love science, animals and biology. Around crutching or shearing time, we spend a week or two as a family in the shed crutching or shearing until we have all the sheep done. When I’m older, I plan to return home and help but eventually, I’m most likely going to be doing palaeontology mainly. I do most of my biology research on the internet, but my palaeontology friend also gave me a couple of books on ant colonies. I am now raising a couple of colonies myself, and I found a couple queens after they had their nuptial flights which is their mating process. I placed them in test tubes until they got their first workers called nanitics up and then moved them into enclosures. I find it very interesting seeing how the colonies actually work, their behaviour and stuff because it’s actually pretty cool. There are tons of different species that do different things. All of the workers are female and all males have wings for nuptial flights; after they mate, they die pretty much immediately because that’s their only purpose. The colonies I’ve got only have a few ants but there can be hundreds of thousands in a single colony. There’s also some species which are polymorphic, meaning that they have different worker casts. So some workers will have a large head for breaking down food and for protecting the nest, that sort of thing. And then they have minor workers, which pretty much their main role is just taking care of the brood and the queen. I also have two blue tongue skinks which can live for about 30 years but are pretty much a step up from a pet rock because they are pretty docile. I’ve just recently installed a heating mat into their enclosure and they are enjoying that a bit. I also am interested in tropical plants and have several different ones in our yard. I had a few nut pine trees that I started from seed using cotton wool about three years ago, unfortunately, a couple of them burnt in the bush fire, however, I still have one of them that is doing pretty good.  I recently got into the youth environmental council, too, which is where you go to a couple of places talking with other kids about what we could change around the school and the environment. I think there should be more fire breaks in a couple areas and also more thought put into the removal of invasive ant species and that sort of thing. I am going on my first camp in a couple of weeks, it’s pretty exciting.”

Jack with his trilobite

Published by sabrinadavis5223

I am a German living in South Australia. We lost our home and farm in the Kangaroo island summer bushfires. I love travelling, reading, beach walks, board games, watching movies and spending time with my family.

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