SYDNEY — Australian scientists Thursday unveiled the biggest-ever graveyard of an ancient rhino-sized mega-wombat called diprotodon, with the site potentially holding valuable clues on the species’ extinction.
The remote fossil deposit in outback Queensland state is thought to contain up to 50 diprotodon skeletons including a huge specimen named Kenny, whose jawbone alone is 70 centimetres (28 inches) long. Lead scientist on the dig, Scott Hocknull from the Queensland Museum in Brisbane, said Kenny was one of the largest diprotodons he had ever seen and one of the best preserved specimens.
Pigeon-toed and with a backward-facing pouch large enough to carry an adult human, Hocknull likened diprotodon to “a cross between a wombat and a bear but the size of a rhinoceros”. The deposit contained the largest concentration of mega-wombat fossils ever discovered and could hold important clues on how the diprotodon lived and what caused it to perish, he said. — AFP