In Search of Mungo Dog

by Michelle

A week ago, Mummydag set off with D-dag and Mini to Mutthi Mutthi country in search of Mungo Dog. Along the road we passed all kinds of heavy duty vehicles free wheeling and wide-loading. Aside from a scary skirmish or two it seems Rainbow Man was watching over us and we reached our hidey hole in good time, albeit covered in mud.

Mungo Dog or Megacanine (MC) hails from 40,000 years ago, in the late Pleistocene, a precursor to the garden variety dingo. Radiocarbon dating of her wind-exposed skeletal fragments has excited anthropologists and archeologists into research frenzy. Although an entire fossil has not been discovered, the remains of her doggy flakes and coarse pelt vestiges bear witness to her occupation of the vast Willandra Lakes. We kept our eye out for pawprints in the alluvial bulldust.

Though this is a fruit-fly zone, we feasted on native tomatoes, quandongs, a kind of plum, acacias and succulent mistletoes. But after two days in the wind and eerie mud, we were starting to get hungry and had to resort to eating roo, of which variety, the grey or the red is recommended over the black. In the lunettes of the dried up lakes we found what we hypothesised to be a demi-zygoma of a zygomaturus. There was evidence of clay burials and the cracked shell of ochre-sprinkled eggs but still there was no artefact of the mythic and elusive MC.

In the end we retreated to a campfire and the warmth of a nearby station. Mummydag started to cook dinner: damper and roast veges, while D-Dag and Mini wandered around to inspect the empty shearing sheds and greet the ravens, the butcherbirds and the resident kelpies. All at once Mini became besotted by a shy, collared pup named Nip. We hadn’t found any real traces of MC but we’d made a new friend, and so the next day it was impossible to go out tracking, and the day after that it was impossible to leave the station, and so we have a story.

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