Revisiting Dingo Attack on Baby



The video summarizes the case made famous in a Meryl Streep movie: A dingo took a human baby from a tent, and the mother was blamed for it. As described in The Book of Deadly Animals, the evidence against Lindy Chamberlain was never credible, while the reasons for doubting a wild dog would prey on a human child were wishful thinking. A new study, mentioned in the link below, confirms that dingoes sometimes take large prey. This should be no surprise if we recall that they belong to the same species as wolves and dogs. The most telling evidence, however, is that other children have been killed by dingoes in the years since this case made news. 


Evidence growing for Azaria dingo attack: "A 2011 study of dingo scats showed dingoes could prey on relatively large animals, like wallabies, not just small creatures like rats.


"The second body of evidence that may well be of interest are the events of Fraser Island, showing that when humans and dingoes are in relatively close proximity, that dingoes become sufficiently emboldened to attack humans," he said."

8 comments:

  1. Why is it a surprise that dingoes hunt prey larger than rats?? o-o What the hell is the problem of scientists?

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  2. In this case, I don't think it's the scientists who were at fault, but the officials who chose to bring charges against the mother. They were reacting to a lot of pressures, including a public distrust for the couple's religion (Seventh Day Adventist). The officials seem to have been very gullible about the idea of human sacrifice--that was the motive prosecutors suggested for the parents to kill the baby. There was also pressure, in those newly eco-friendly days, to think that animals were not dangerous to people. That's obviously foolish, but people tended to oversimplify the message biologists were giving them--that big predators are important to have around, and that reports of their danger to people were exaggerated. Many people heard that as "harmless to people." And then there's that habit we have of thinking each species behaves the same under all circumstances.

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  3. Ooooh the religion part is the bit I missed! I saw a documentary about this case some time ago but I'm pretty sure no one ever mentioned that element. Weird...

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  4. Yeah, it was apparently a very provincial jury, ready to believe almost anything about these people they perceived as weirdos. There was also incompetent testimony on the blood evidence. Just so many things went wrong or were intentionally distorted in order to persecute this couple.

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  5. One can only imagine what they must have felt, the entire world turned against them >.<

    What ever happened to them?

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  6. They were exonerated after Lindy had spent time in jail. Their marriage broke up. Lindy still speaks to media from time to time.

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  7. So let me get this straight..... people's dogs go nuts and drag kids off and maul them to death but they just couldn't believe that a wild animal that hunts for food every day could do this? Seriously? Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't but if the whole case was based on "a dingo would never kill a baby" that is HORRIBLE police work.

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  8. Yeah, definitely not the finest hour for law enforcement. A lot of things went wrong here.

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