Newly described extinct kangaroo’s skull. Credit: Ann. Warbutton, Murdoch University
A new study describes a “semicircular kangaroo” that lived in Australia 40,000 years ago. Obviously, jumping can also be tedious.
According to the study, Published On this week Royal Society Open ScienceThe discovery came from fossils excavated decades ago in the Mammath Cave and Thylacole Cave systems of Western Australia. The skulls, teeth, and skeletons of two extinct marsupials were originally identified as representing an Ice Age kangaroo, Valabia Kitchenery.
Researchers claim that they are physically distinct, and assign the fossils to the genus Congrus, previously occupied by only one type of fossil, But in proper fitting. They are calling the newly identified animal But proper kitchen.
“This discovery reminds us once again that we understand very little of Australia’s relatively recent geological past,” said co-author Gavin Preduke, a paleontologist at Flinders University in Australia, The release Da Murdoch University.
Just as vast areas of the Northern Hemisphere were covered by ice sheets during the Pleistocene, Australia’s sprawl that is now already covered by forests and lawns. Therefore, a tasty habitat for an animal which, according to the authors of the study, was a long-necked vegetarian.
Many fossil scientific discoveries in Australia come from its cave network, which offers a vivid view of Pleistocene biodiversity. Although the team distinguished this species through its cranial and dental characteristics, they obtained clues about its behavior from its forelimbs. Its humerus and ulna suggested that the animal was extremely muscular (it had large pectorals), an increased range of motion that would allow it to raise its hands above its head, and larger hands with huge, curved claws. Were. (The curvature of the fingers is also an adaptation to grab trees seen in other species.)
“It’s really interesting, not only from the point of view of the unpredictable behavior of climbing trees on a large kangaroo, but also because these specimens come from an area that is now devoid of trees,” co-author Natalie Warbutton, Fossil The scientist said at Murdoch University in Perth, in the same statement. “The habitat and environment in the area were actually different from what we are now, and probably different from what we could interpret for the time before.”
Other discoveries of marsupial fossils in Australian caves similarly point to over-the-top aspirations for life (or less food). In general, marsupials have a very strong upper body, as marsupials resemble jelly beans. They are less developed than other mammals at birth and need to enter the pouch of mothers to continue their development. Recently described species are evidence of this marsupial’s long-lasting evolutionary commitment to the upper body.
But proper kitchen He will not be the only kangaroo to climb the tree. This feature appears in 14 species today. Tree kangaroo Oddly adorable, engaged in an evolutionary joint venture with Lal Panda and LeMar. Kangaroo fossils developed their own characteristics of climbing trees separately, the authors said, meaning that two groups of kangaroos learned to climb independently.
According to the researchers, the newly described species was only semi-arboreal and moved slowly through the trees. But the living tree for a creature five times larger than kangaroos is not a bad track record.