A pair of
Dromornis planei, an extinct mihirung bird from Australia, weighed a massive 300 kilograms.
Australia was once home to giant fightless birds - much bigger than today's emus and cassawories. But where did they come from, and where did they go?
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.
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
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".
Enormous sediment cones in a cave at Naracoorte. Two people in overalls show the scale of the area.
Layers and layers of sand and sediment collected in Naracoorte Caves create windows into what Australia was like in our recent past.
Giant sloths: killed by rainy weather?
A burst of wet weather could have helped to kill off mammoths and other large herbivores, by transforming much of the world's grasslands into bogs and forests and depriving megafauna of food.
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
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.
Ship strikes can be deadly, as shown by this blue whale off the US northwest.
Craig Hayslip/Oregon State Univ./Flickr/Wikimedia Commons
Ships in Australian waters are getting bigger and more numerous all the time. We need a plan to help them avoid crashing into whales and other large sea creatures.
The great grey owl is imperiled by intensive logging of northern-hemisphere forests.
Copyright Ondrej Prosicky/Shutterstock.
The jury is in and the debate is over: Earth’s sixth great extinction has arrived.
Cave artists knew about the elusive bison some 17,000 years ago.
DNA analysis suggests that a newly discovered species of bison roamed Europe some 17,000 years ago - as prehistoric cave artists were trying to tell us all along.
A living coucal from South Africa, whose huge prehistoric relatives lived on the Nullarbor.
The Nullarbor is an arid, treeless expanse today. But several hundred thousand years ago it was home to a menagerie of species, including two newly discovered giant cuckoo-like birds.
Diprotodon, the largest ever marsupial, probably died out at human hands.
Peter Murray (courtesy of Chris Johnson)
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.
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.
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
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.
Animals that couldn't adapt to rapid warming quickly succumbed.
Modern day kangaroos exhibit a hopping form of locomotion.
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…
Ducking for cover.
Declining numbers of zebra, antelope and other big grazers cause rodent populations to rapidly increase, a new study has shown. Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Hillary…
A decade-long research project has revealed the diets of extinct Antarctic megafauna – as well as uncovering potential reasons…
Why are the megafauna no longer with us?
Australia was once home to gigantic reptiles, birds and marsupials, but sadly they’re no longer with us. What happened to them has been a source of ongoing debate, whether it was human hunting, climate…
Megafauna such as Glyptodon were muck-spreaders.
If Earth were like a human body, large animals might be its arteries, moving nutrients from where they’re abundant to where they’re needed. Currently the planet has large regions where life is limited…