Animal instincts

From fossils to the finned, feathered or furred, animals are a favourite topic at Griffith Review.
Explore this collection of work dedicated to our friends in the animal kingdom.


Rainbow flag ibis by Scott Marsh, Chippendale, NSW, photo by Paul Allatson

Bin chicken wonder 

While often playful and ironic, the bin chicken phenomenon has a more serious side. Like an ‘animal familiar’, the humble ibis is helping us navigate changing times, including the question of who belongs and who does not in modern Australia. A vast array of bin chicken merch celebrates a decidedly kitsch Aussie aesthetic that champions a working-class or bogan sensibility.

Through the looking glass

Van Leeuwenhoek had been eager to dissect many different animals’ organs of sight in order to better understand the biological basis for vision. This knowledge, he believed, would aid in improving his microscopes. If he came to grips with how eyes worked, he might then be able to mechanically simulate a more piercing, magnifying focus by crafting better lenses. Biomimicry, of a type. He sought whale eyes specifically because of their size.

Animal perspective

ERIN HORTLE: In Tasmania, there is a place where female octopuses emerge from the water and make their way across an isthmus, with a highway running across it, in search…

Trace fossils

This was a landscape of fossils and trace fossils – the preserved impressions left by the passage of a living body through sediment – jostling for attention.

Where the wild things are

WHEN WE WERE moving from Sydney to Brisbane this year, people suggested different things I’d need to get used to: hot, sticky summers; the absence of city beaches; and the…

Re-thinking animals

Recognising that animals have consciousness is a huge step for humans, and dangerous, too, as it might well undermine not only traditional thinking but our traditional means of survival – that is, what we eat.