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Palaeontology

Fossil remains of world's largest marsupial unearthed in Australia

By T.K. Randall
October 25, 2023 · Comment icon 4 comments
Diprotodon skeleton at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris.
A museum exhibit of a Diprotodon skeleton. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Ghedoghedo
A relative of today's wombats, the Diprotodon was absolutely massive - standing 1.7 meters tall and weighing 3 tons.
Today, Australia is home to some remarkable creatures, but in the distant past it was home to an even greater assortment of weird, wonderful - and in some cases gargantuan - animals.

One such example was recently unearthed by palaeontologists from Western Australia Museum who found multiple sets of fossil remains at a remote mine at Du Boulay Creek, 1450 km north of Perth.

The fossils belonged to a long-extinct species known as Diprotodon which was not just large, but the single largest marsupial ever to walk the face of the Earth.

These tank-like beasts were known to reach lengths of up to 4 meters, stood 1.7 meters tall and weighed in at as much as 3 tons.
An ancestor of today's wombats and koalas, Diprotodon was first discovered in 1991 and roamed Australia between 2 million and 25,000 years ago.

Incredibly, this means that early humans would have actually encountered them first-hand.

"They're pretty incredible animals," said curator Dr. Kenny Travoullion.

"They would have overlapped with the first people of this land... we don't really know much about them. But by studying them in the field here, taking them back to the museum, and having researchers and experts come and look at the bones, we'll be able to uncover more about these creatures and how they lived in the past."

Source: abc.net.au | Comments (4)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Alchopwn 4 months ago
Pfft.  This is a BS Australian animal.  I bet it wasn't even poisonous.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Cho Jinn 4 months ago
A bunyip would eat this thing for breakfast.
Comment icon #3 Posted by Jon the frog 3 months ago
Did they found some some with hunting/butchery marks on bones ?
Comment icon #4 Posted by Eldorado 3 months ago
On one rib, there is a small, square hole tentatively identified as having been made by a spear while the bone was still fresh. This is one of the few pieces of evidence that humans may have hunted Diprotodon. https://australian.museum/learn/australia-over-time/extinct-animals/diprotodon-optatum/


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