23. Kangaroo?

11 Feb

MISCONCEPTION: Whilst Lieutenant (later, Captain) James Cook and Botanist/Naturalist Sir Joseph Bank were exploring a small area near where they docked in Australia. On one of these trips they saw a mysterious creature hopping around and asked a local what it was, the local replied ‘Kangaroo’ the aborigine word for ‘I don’t understand you,’ which James Cook took to be the name of the creature and has been its name since then.

TRUTH: Their ship,  HM Endeavour was grounded for seven weeks so it could be repaired after a damaging collision with the ever so slightly larger Great Barrier Reef. During this time James Cook asked locals the name of the mysterious bouncy creatures, and after a few tries they told him the word for Grey Kangaroo in their local language of Guugu Yimithirr , the word was, ‘Ganguruu’ which  James Cook initially recorded as ‘Kangooroo’ or ‘Kanguru’, both of which were melded together into the modern spelling of Kangaroo that we all know and love.

1 Comment

Posted by on February 11, 2011 in Misconceptions, Trivia


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One response to “23. Kangaroo?

  1. Ashley

    October 8, 2016 at 19:28

    In class we are studying the journey on Capitan James Cook.
    The book we are studying from has records of this event.
    The book is called Stowaway and it is told from the very real stowaway in the hms endeavor. Nick Young.


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