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Articles on Australian megafauna

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The extinct Australian giant flightless bird, Genyornis newtoni. Used with permission; all other rights reserved. Jacob C. Blokland

New fossils show what Australia’s giant prehistoric ‘thunder birds’ looked like – and offer clues about how they died out

A recent find of an ancient giant bird’s skull has revealed much about its life among the vanished lakes and wetlands of inland South Australia.
A flock of vultures (Cryptogyps lacertosus) and Australian ravens watch and wait (left), as an adult eagle Dynatoaetus pachyosteus feeds on the carcass of a dead Diprotodon (centre), while a younger bird seeks to join in. In the nearby treetops, a second adult D. pachyosteus feeds its hungry chick (right). John Barrie

Giant eagles and scavenging vultures shared the skies of ancient Australia

New fossils reveal Australia was once home to a much greater diversity of huge eagles and vultures, which died off alongside ‘giant wombats’ and ‘marsupial lions’.
Ramsayia reconstruction (r) next to a modern wombat. Eleanor Pease

For the first time ever, we have a complete skull description of a true fossil giant wombat

80,000 years ago, Australia’s landscape was dominated by much larger versions of today’s marsupials – including enigmatic and enormous wombats.

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