Articles on Megafauna

Displaying 1 - 20 of 31 articles

An artist’s impression of the Wakaleo schouteni marsupial ‘lion’ challenging a thylacine over the carcass of a kangaroo in the early Miocene rainforest of Riversleigh. Peter Schouten

A new species of marsupial lion tells us about Australia’s past

'Marsupial lions' aren't really lions - but they did have teeth that formed a pair of secateur-like blades. The newly found species lived in forests of Queensland around 20 million years ago.
An impression of what it could have looked like: a giant lizard, Megalania, stalks a herd of migrating Diprotodon, while a pair of massive megafaunal kangaroos look on. Laurie Beirne

Giant marsupials once migrated across an Australian Ice Age landscape

Studies of the fossil teeth of the three-tonne Diprotodon have revealed the now-extinct beast was Australia's only known seasonally migrating marsupial.
Hypothetical reconstruction of the largest extinct megapode, Progura gallinacea (right), with a modern Brush-turkey and a Grey Kangaroo. Artwork by E. Shute, from photos by Tony Rudd, Kim Benson and Aaron Camens

Tall turkeys and nuggety chickens: large ‘megapode’ birds once lived across Australia

Large birds once lived across Australia, only to become extinct around the time that giant marsupials and other megafauna died out during the Pleistocene "ice ages".
What it could have looked like when humans and megafauna lived together: a giant macropod Procoptodon goliah in the foreground, while Thylacinus cynocephalus hunts for prey nearby. A herd of Zygomaturus can be see on the lake edge of the ancient Willandra system. Illustration by Laurie Beirne

Aboriginal Australians co-existed with the megafauna for at least 17,000 years

The extinction of the giant reptiles, marsupials and birds that once called Australia home has been the subject of much debate, including the role early Australians may have had on their fate.
Diprotodon, the largest ever marsupial, probably died out at human hands. Peter Murray (courtesy of Chris Johnson)

New analysis finds no evidence that climate wiped out Australia’s megafauna

What killed off Australia's giant wombats and other megafauna? New dating once again points the finger at human hunters, rather than abrupt changes to the climate.
An artist’s reconstruction of what the giant bird Dromornis would look like. Genyornis would be similar but slightly smaller. Peter Trusler

A case of mistaken identity for Australia’s extinct big bird

Our entire knowledge of one of Australia's extinct ancient giant birds is flawed because experts have been looking at remnants of the wrong egg the whole time.
Examining a model of the ancient fish Mandageria fairfaxi, the new fossil emblem for NSW are (l-r) NSW MP Anthony Roberts, director and CEO of the Australian Museum Kim McKay, NSW MPs Andrew Gee and Troy Grant, and Dr Ian Percival from the Geological Survey of NSW. AAP Image/Supplied

Australia needs more state fossil emblems, but let the public decide

Every state and territory in Australia should have one: a fossil emblem. Not only can they be good for tourism but they can also help teach people about the ancient history of the regions.
Abrupt warming events may have helped kill off megafauna species like the mammoth. AAP Image/James Shrimpton

Abrupt climate warming, not cold snaps, kicked off megafauna extinction: study

New research challenges previously held views that the Ice Age, giant biblical floods or hunting by humans were the key drivers behind the disappearance of megafauna.
Modern day kangaroos exhibit a hopping form of locomotion. Leo/Flickr

Giant kangaroos were more likely to walk than hop

Extinct giant kangaroos may have been built more for walking, rather than hopping like today’s kangaroos, especially when moving slowly. These sthenurine kangaroos existed until around 30,000 years ago…

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