The kangaroo is a marsupial from the family Macropodidae (macropods, meaning 'large foot'). The term 'Kangaroo' is used to describe the largest species from this family, especially those of the genus Macropus, red kangaroo, antilopine kangaroo, eastern grey kangaroo and western grey kangaroo. Kangaroos are native to the country of Australia. However the smaller macropods are found in both Australia and New Guinea.
A common myth about the kangaroo's English name is that 'kangaroo' was a Guugu Yimithirr phrase for:
'...I don't understand you...'
According to this legend, Lieutenant Cook and naturalist Sir Joseph Banks were exploring the area when they happened upon the animal. They asked a nearby local what the creatures were called. The local responded 'Kangaroo', meaning '...I don't understand you...', which Cook took to be the name of the creature. The Kangaroo myth was debunked in the 1970s by linguist John B. Haviland in his research with the Guugu Yimithirr people.
Where can you find kangaroos?
The eastern grey kangaroo (Macropus giganteus) is less well-known than the red (outside of Australia), but the most often seen, as its range covers the fertile eastern part of the country.
The western grey kangaroo (Macropus fuliginosus) is slightly smaller again at about 54 kg (119 lb) for a large male. It is found in the southern part of Western Australia, South Australia near the coast, and the Darling River basin.
The antilopine kangaroo (Macropus antilopinus) is, essentially, the far-northern equivalent of the eastern and western grey kangaroos. Like them, it is a creature of the grassy plains and woodlands, and gregarious.
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