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Palaeontology

Prehistoric kangaroo walked like a human

By T.K. Randall
October 18, 2014 · Comment icon 9 comments



Sthenurine kangaroos were quite unlike their modern counterparts. Image Credit: CC BY 2.5 Gnangarra
The extinct sthenurine kangaroo weighed a quarter of a ton and looked a bit like a giant bipedal rabbit.
Today's kangaroos are a common site across Australia, but over the last few million years the country has been home to several divergent species of kangaroo that were anything but familiar.

The sthenurine kangaroo, which went extinct around 30,000 years ago, was unlike any kangaroo alive today. A giant marsupial standing two meters tall and weighing 240kg, this huge animal was unable to hop at all and instead walked along on two legs in an upright position like modern kangaroos do when they box.
"When I first saw a specimen at the Australian Museum, it appeared to have an arthritic back and you very rarely see that in wild animals," said Professor Christine Janis. " I thought: ‘How could it have that when it was hopping?’ That made me think these guys are not like modern kangaroos at all."

"Facially, they would have looked like a beefed-up rabbit, walking on tiptoe. If you think of how kangaroos stand when they box, that’s how they may have walked about."

Source: The Guardian | Comments (9)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by IBelieveWhatIWant 8 years ago
Modern kangaroos could break a few ribs and gut you with one punch and swipe. I'd hate to think what those guys could do to you.
Comment icon #2 Posted by jarjarbinks 8 years ago
if you see the image in the source link, it looks like a T-Rex
Comment icon #3 Posted by Mikenator 8 years ago
Just cause it was big doesn't mean it didn't hop it probuly did hop but of course scientists are going to say whatever the hell they want to say
Comment icon #4 Posted by IBelieveWhatIWant 8 years ago
Just cause it was big doesn't mean it didn't hop it probuly did hop but of course scientists are going to say whatever the hell they want to say Didn't you read that it had an arthritic back? Meaning it had arthritis in it's (most likely) spice or the bones connecting the spine, if it had acted and moved as a modern day kangaroo it would have been in horrible pain. It would have most likely started walking and hopping as modern kangaroos but as they grew and got heavier, they adjusted because of the discomfort it was causing them.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Hammerclaw 8 years ago
It looks like it evolved to run away from predators. It has legs like a velociraptor.
Comment icon #6 Posted by freetoroam 8 years ago
I like the walked like a human bit.....at which stage of man?
Comment icon #7 Posted by Yes_Man 8 years ago
It looks like it evolved to run away from predators. It has legs like a velociraptor. most likely the climate, as most mammals in Australia have the same technique
Comment icon #8 Posted by Leonardo 8 years ago
The animal in the sketch looks like it's about to burst into tears, but I suppose if I was extinct I'd be quite upset also.
Comment icon #9 Posted by maximusnow 8 years ago
It could have a degenerative back due to drug usage, well you don’t really know?


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