Australian animals have a reputation for being the most intelligent animals on the planet.
But a new study has revealed they’re also quite a lot more diverse in terms of their physical appearance.
The team of scientists from the University of Melbourne analysed the body scans of 1,600 captive animals, including a lot of cats and dogs, to understand what makes them so special.
“They have a much higher body mass index, they have a lot bigger muscles, they are very muscular, they weigh less than most animals,” said Professor Steve Hodge, who led the study.
“It’s an example of a trait that can be quite useful to scientists in understanding how animals function in the wild, as well as helping us understand how our own species evolved and how it will continue to evolve.”
In the study, the team looked at the anatomy of the animals’ heads, which revealed a lot about their body composition.
“The study looked at an area of the brain called the hypothalamus,” Professor Hodge said.
“We think that this area is very important for regulating appetite, for regulating our body temperature, and also regulating how many calories we get from food.”
“The results are quite surprising,” he said.
“They’re very, very diverse in their anatomy.”‘
Not only do they have an interesting brain, but they also have an incredible physical appearance’Professor Hodge’s team compared these results to what they found when they looked at other animals.
“What they found was that Australian animals did indeed have an impressive amount of physical diversity, but that they had a much lower body mass in comparison to most other species,” he explained.
“So we think that their brains are much more efficient and less complicated than other animals in terms, they don’t have the same number of muscles, the same brain.”
The team also found a very striking difference in the physical appearance of a captive Australian animal compared to a wild animal.
“In contrast to other species, we found that a lot, a lot better than other species did, a very impressive amount better than the wild animals,” Professor Mollie Condon said.
The research was published in the journal Science Advances.