Just published about an hour ago (if it was in hardcopy, it would still be hot off the presses). And it is a wonderful paper! Australian crocs can and will travel much longer distances than was previously thought and their homing instinct is strong and navigational capacity excellent, even in a case where a large obstacle (Cape York Peninsula) needed to be navigated around:
Crocodiles are widely distributed and can usually be found in remote areas, however very little is known about their movements on a larger scale. In this study, Read and colleagues (including the late Steve Irwin) use satellite tracking to report the movements of three large male crocodiles, which were relocated up to 411km from their capture sites in Northern Australia. The results show that each crocodile returned to its original capture site within days, indicating that homing abilities are present amongst crocodiles.
Can you imagine anyone doing this work without Steve Irwin? Who else would be able to grab a big croc, attach a satellite tracker, load it and unload it some hundreds of miles away, then follow their movements on the computer screen? Would you dare ask your grad students to do that?
Crikey! Steve Irwin is irreplaceable. His over-the-top antics can be both fun and annoying, but it's entertaining enough to teach a whole new generation about the beauty of nature.
"Can you imagine anyone doing this work without Steve Irwin? Who else would be able to grab a big croc, attach a satellite tracker, load it and unload it some hundreds of miles away, then follow their movements on the computer screen?"
I'm sure Dr. Brady Barr, NatGeo's croc doc, might be up to the challenge. :p
Some days, wrestling a croc sounds better than the tedious crunching of data I've been doing lately. At least I'd be getting a good tan along with my degree.
um...did he have a first paper, before this one?
I think a lot of Australians (myself included) got a very big surprise after Irwin died, to find out that behind the larger-than-life TV personality, he was actually (or at least was striving to be) a serious naturalist and conservationist with quite a string of achievements behind him.
In some ways, I think he was trying to be the working man's David Attenborough.
i love the crocodile hunter