Archaeologists have uncovered three new species of giant kangaroos in Australia and New Guinea

These creatures lived approximately 5 million to 40,000 years ago. The largest kangaroos were about twice the size of modern kangaroos. Lead researcher Dr. Isaac Kerr and a team focused on three fossils for study. Complete fossils were found in 2013, 2018, and 2019 and all belong to the Protemnodon genus. A new study on the fossils was published in the journal Megataxa.

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The largest ancient kangaroo mentioned in the study is called Protemnodon viator. He was very large and weighed up to 375 pounds, twice the weight of a male red kangaroo. This species would have been more compact and muscular than modern kangaroos. The two other species mentioned in the study are called Protemnodon mamkurra and Protemnodon dawsonae. “We photographed and 3D scanned, measured, compared, and described more than 800 specimens collected in Australia and New Guinea. This was quite a big undertaking.

“After five years of research, 261 pages and over 100,000 words it’s great to finally have it published. “I really hope this will help lead to more studies on Protemnodon so we can find out more about what these kangaroos were doing. “Living kangaroos are already such remarkable animals, so it’s amazing to think about what these strange giant kangaroos might be doing,” Dr Kerr said.

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“It’s great to have some clarity on the identity of a Protemnodon species,” said co-author Professor Gavin Prideaux. “Fossils of this species are widespread and are found regularly, but most of the time you cannot be certain which species you are looking at. “This study may help researchers feel more confident when working with Protemnodon.”

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