August 21, 2017

Giant Wombat skeleton found in Australia

Camping out in Queensland 50,000 years ago must have been scary stuff with these creatures wandering through the tent.

Scientists in Australia have found the skeleton of an ancient “giant wombat” that would have weighed in at 3 tonnes.

Its bones were found at Floraville Station in Northern Queensland and marks the first time a complete skeleton of a Diprotodon optatum has been uncovered.

Researchers believe the area could contain a huge graveyard of mega-fauna that once roamed the Australian continent.

The Diprotodon was widespread across Australia about 50,000 years ago, when it is believed the first indigenous people lived.

Professor Mike Archer, a professor of biological science at the University of New South Wales, described the discovery as extraordinary.

“We found the most gigantic marsupial ever known,” he said.

“These were very huge animals but with pouches. If one tried to visualise what this thing looked like, you’d have to sort of think of a gigantic wombat on steroids.”

The latest specimen will be taken to the Riversleigh Fossil Centre, a World Heritage site in Queensland.

It is home to an unusual array of prehistoric treasures, including the remains of a tree-dwelling crocodile, a carnivorous rat kangaroo and a marsupial lion.