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Scientific Paper published by David M. Welch

That Bird is not Genyornis

Abstract. An emu-like bird painted in a western Arnhem Land rock shelter has been interpreted as a probable painting of Genyornis newtoni, one of Australia’s extinct megafaunal species. Support for this argument was based on the anatomical features and posture of the painting, its apparent age and the opinion of a palaeontologist. In this paper, I will argue that the painting does not represent Genyornis, but is a stylised representation of an emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae), or perhaps a bustard (Ardeotis australis), and the same artist has painted an equally stylised painting of a magpie goose (Anseranus semipalmata) or another bird adjacent to the emu. Furthermore, the alleged Genyornis painting is relatively recent in the chronological art sequence for Arnhem Land, having been painted in a Simple X-ray style of the Estuarine Period, with an age likely to be between 1,500 and 8,000 years BP.