Ten facts about Australia's amazing emu
On the day our Australian Map Shaped Coin Series – Emu 2012 1oz Silver Coin is launched, here are ten emu facts we hope you find fascinating.
- The emu is the largest bird inhabiting the Australian continent.
- One species exists today, although prior to European colonisation three other species occurred: the Tasmanian emu, the King Island emu and the Kangaroo Island emu.
- The name emu is thought to be derived from an Arabic word for ‘large bird’ and later adopted by early Portuguese explorers.
- The emu is part of a group known as ratites, which includes the Australian cassowary, from which it may have evolved.
- Like other ratites, the emu has a ‘keelless’ breastbone and is therefore missing the part needed to anchor powerful flight muscles.
- The flightless bird’s long legs are extremely strong and fast, allowing it to sprint at over 30 miles per hour.
- With no teeth emus swallow large pebbles to help their stomach grind up food.
- The emu and the kangaroo were chosen for our Coat of Arms as they are the only two Australian animals that can’t move backwards.
- An emu egg can weigh about the same as 12 chicken eggs.
- Emu egg shells have multiple layers ranging from an inner white layer through to a green outer layer, which led to Kalti Paarti – the art of carving emu eggs (see astonishing examples here).
Fit for a king - 100 years since Tutankhamun's discovery
It is now 100 years since archaeologist Howard Carter discovered Tutankhamun’s tomb. In a sensational Perth Mint release, we celebrate the fascinating young pharaoh.