The DevilComeback breeding program has experienced its second successful year, with nine new Tasmanian devil joeys born in regional New South Wales. 

It’s been over 3,000 years since Tasmanian devils have lived in the wild on mainland Australia. In recent years, the wild devil population in Tasmania has been devastated due to Devil Facial Tumour Disease—a highly contagious and fatal cancer. Approximately 25,000 wild devils remain. 

‘The ongoing success of the DevilComeback program provides hope for conservation of the species.‘ 

(Madeleine Cross, 2022) 

Want some more good news to start your week? 

Researchers have developed a way to detect the presence of rock art in remote, hard-to-reach areas in Australia’s rugged landscapes using Machine Learning (ML) methods.   

Co-led by Dr Andrea Jalandoni, a digital archaeologist from Griffith University’s Centre for Social and Cultural Research, the study used hundreds of images of rock art found within Kakadu National Park to train a ML model to detect whether painted rock art was present within the image.   

The model achieved an 89% success rate, meaning it determined which images contained rock art the vast majority of times.   

“Some of these sites are not easily accessible, so alleviating some of the time, effort and expense to mount some explorative missions is of huge value to this type of archaeological research in some of the most remote areas of Australia,” Dr Jalandoni said.   

“Once our ML model picks up whether an area photographed potentially contains previously undiscovered rock art, scientists can then go in and ground-truth the site to verify if there is rock art present and report on it further.”   

The findings ‘On the use of Machine Learning Methods in Rock Art Research with Application to Automatic Painted Rock Art Identification’ have been published in the Journal of Archaeological Science. (Carley Rosengreen, 2022)