Whopping Wombat Find
Queensland -based palaeontologists unearthed the practically virtually complete skeleton of a diprotodon, a giant wombat-like creature with massive tusks, tiny brain, about the size of a rhinoceros,
Whopping Wombat Find
It was in July 2002 that a remarkable cache of prehistoric marsupial remains, including giant lions, 10ft-tall kangaroos and a wombat the size of a Mini, were all unearthed in remote caves in the Australian outback. Scientists found the fossils, entombed in perfect condition for up to 1.5 million years, included previously undiscovered species of Australian megafauna, along with the first complete skeleton of a marsupial lion called Thylacoleo carnifex and the remains of the world's largest kangaroo, Procoptodon goliah.
Then in July 2011 that Queensland -based palaeontologists unearthed the practically virtually complete skeleton of a diprotodon, a giant wombat-like creature with massive tusks, tiny brain, about the size of a rhinoceros, in an area rich in prehistoric megafauna fossils, virtually complete fossil one of the most significant prehistoric discoveries in Australian history. This creature was the biggest marsupial that ever lived, according to, Professor Sue Hand, University of New South Wales palaeontologist.
Plant-eating diprotodons were around some 2.5 million years ago, extinct some 55,000 years ago. Now another remote Queensland fossil deposit is thought to hold up 20 diprotodon skeletons, one massive specimen - named Kenny having a 28 in long jawbone, one of the biggest of the species ever seen and one of the best preserved. This huge find could hold important clues on how the diprotodon lived and what caused it to perish, these enormous marsupials weighing up to 2.8 tonnes, dying out around the same time indigenous tribes first appeared.
Along with the major find, remains of hundreds of tiny fish, frogs, lizards and mammals were also found, finds almost as important, which will allow researchers to reconstruct what the environment was like when these giants were alive, and what has changed to the ecosystem since that time. This ancient, relative of the modern-day wombat was just one of a host of megafauna to roam ancient Australia, and like towering kangaroos and gigantic crocodiles, was enormous, being the size of a rhinoceros, pigeon-toed and had a backward-facing pouch, all of these amazing creatures having evolved so massive to cope with inhospitable climates and food scarcity.
There is little doubt that much more will be unearthed about the ancient Australian past as time goes by, but these huge beasts must have been quite a sight as they roamed the landscape, and it is quite likely that they were hunted to extinction by an ever growing human population, though that can never be known for sure.