The following is an incomplete list of extant Australian megafauna (monotremes, marsupials, birds and reptiles) in the format:
- Latin name, (common name, period alive), and a brief description.
Monotremes are arranged by size with the largest at the top.
- Zaglossus hacketti was a sheep-sized echidna uncovered in Mammoth Cave in Western Australia, and is the largest monotreme so far uncovered.
- Obdurodon dicksoni was a platypus up to 60 cm in total length, fossils of which were found at Riversleigh.
- Megalibgwilia ramsayi was a large, long-beaked echidna with powerful forelimbs for digging. Its diet would probably have included worms and grubs rather than ants.
- Megalibgwilia robusta was a long-beaked echidna.
Marsupials are arranged by size with largest at the top.
The diprotodon was a hippopotamus-sized marsupial, most closely related to the wombat.
- Diprotodon optatum was the largest species of diprotodontid. Approximately three metres long, two metres high at the shoulder and weighing up to two tonnes, it resembled a giant wombat. It is the largest marsupial currently known.
- Zygomaturus trilobus was a smaller (bullock-sized, about two metres long by one metre high) diprotodontid that may have had a short trunk. It appears to have lived in wetlands, using two fork-like incisors to shovel up reeds and sedges for food.
- Palorchestes azael (the Marsupial Tapir) was a diprotodontoid similar in size to Zygomaturus, with long claws and a longish trunk. It lived in the Pleistocene (Mackness 2009).
- Euowenia grata
- Euryzygoma dunense
- Phascolonus gigas
- Ramsayia magna
- Procoptodon goliah (the Giant Short-faced Kangaroo) is the largest kangaroo to have ever lived. It grew 2–3 metres (14 feet) tall, and weighed up to 230 kilograms.(low estimate!) It had a flat shortened face with jaw and teeth adapted for chewing tough semi-arid vegetation, and forward-looking eyes providing stereoscopic vision. Procoptodon was one of seventeen species in three genera in the sthenurine subfamily, of whom all are of Greater maturity. Sthenurines inhabited open woodlands in central Northern Australia as the tropical rainforests were beginning to retreat. All sthenurines had an extremely developed, almost hoof-like, fourth toe on the hindlimbs, with other toes vestigial. (Loss of toes is a devolutionary example)
- Additionally, elastic ligaments between the toe bones gave this group improved spring and speed compared to modern kangaroos.Viva La Devolution!
- Sthenurine forelimbs were long with two extra-long fingers and claws compared with the relatively small, stiff arms of modern macropods. Viva La Devolution!
- These may have been used for pulling branches nearer for eating and for quadrupedal movement for short distances.
- Procoptodon rapha, P. pusio and P. texasensis
- Protemnodon a form of giant wallaby with 4 species.
- Palorchestes parvus
- Macropus pearsoni and M. ferragus
- Simosthenurus pales
- Sthenurus tindalei and S. atlas
- Phascolarctos stirtoni was a koala similar to the modern form, but one third larger.
- Phascolomys medius
- Lasiorhinus angustioens
- Thylacine (Tasmanian Tiger)
- Congruus congruus a wallaby from Naracoorte.
- Troposodon minor
- Sthenurus oreas
- Simosthenurus occidentalis (another sthenurine) was about as tall as a modern Eastern Grey Kangaroo, but much more robust.It is one of the nine species of leaf-eating kangaroos identified in fossils found in the Naracoorte Caves National Park.Zygomaturus trilobus
- Simothenurus brownei
- Propleopus oscillans (the Carnivorous Kangaroo), from the Miocene and Pliocene epochs, was a large (~70 kilogram) rat-kangaroo with large shearing and stout grinding teeth that indicate it may have been an opportunistic carnivore able to eat insects, vertebrates (possibly carrion), fruits, and soft leaves. Grew to about 1.5 – 3 metres in height.
- Simothenurus maddocki
- Sthenurus andersoni
- Thylacoleo carnifex, (the Marsupial Lion), was the size of a leopard, and had a cat-like skull with large slicing pre-molars. It had a retractable thumb-claw and massive forelimbs. It was almost certainly carnivorous and a tree-dweller.
- Vombatus hacketti
- Macropus thor
- Macropus piltonensis
- Macropus rama
- Simothenurus gilli
- Warrendja wakefieldi a wombat from Naracoorte.
- Sarcophilus harrisii laniarius was a large form of the Tasmanian Devil.
- Family Dromornithidae: this group of birds was more closely related to waterfowl than modern ratites.
- Dromornis stirtoni, (Stirton’s Thunder Bird, Miocene epoch) was a flightless bird three metres tall that weighed about 500 kilograms. It is one of the largest birds so far discovered. It inhabited subtropical open woodlands and may have been carnivorous. It was heavier than the moa and taller than Aepyornis.
- Bullockornis planei (the ‘Demon Duck of Doom’) was another huge member of the Dromornithidae. It was up to 2.5 metres tall and weighed up to 250 kilograms, and was probably carnivorous.
- Genyornis newtoni (the Mihirung) was related to Dromornis, and was about the height of an ostrich.. It had a large lower jaw and was probably omnivorous.
- Leipoa gallinacea (formerly Progura) was a giant malleefowl.
The giant Varanus priscus
- Varanus priscus (formerly Megalania prisca) was a giant, carnivorous goanna that might have grown to as long as 7 metres (23 feet), and weighed up to 1,940 kilograms (Molnar, 2004).
- Wonambi naracoortensis was a non-venomous snake of five to six metres in length, an ambush predator at waterholes which killed its prey by constriction.
- Quinkana sp., was a terrestrial crocodile which grew from five to possibly 7 metres in length. It had long legs positioned underneath its body, and chased down mammals, birds and other reptiles for food. Its teeth were blade-like for cutting rather than pointed for gripping as with water dwelling crocodiles. It belonged to the mekosuchine subfamily, still extant. It was discovered at Bluff Downs in Queensland.
- Liasis sp., (Bluff Downs Giant Python), lived during the Pliocene epoch, grew up to ten metres long, and is the largest Australian snake known. It hunted mammals, birds and reptiles in riparian woodlands. It is most similar to the extant Olive Python (Liasis olivacea).
- Meiolania was a genus of huge terrestrial cryptodire turtle measuring 2.5 m (8 ft 4 inches) in length, with a horned head and spiked tail.
Note: These were greater ancestors to today’s living fauna, not separate species but the same species that achieved full maturity.
by Greater Ancestors World Museum on Wednesday, October 19, 2011 at 10:24pm