Travelling Australia
 http://www.travelling-australia.info
 HOME   INDEX   BACK 
 
 
Diprotodon
Diprotodon
Diprotodon
Top: Representation of a Diprotodon at Mungo National Park. There are many interpretations of the head shape and body covering of the Diprotodon.
Above: Diprotodon skull at Coonabarabran.
Below: Lower jaw and incisors on display in Burra.
Diprotodon
Diprotodons were large marsupials, the largest ever living. The legs were sturdy and pillar-like, the feet were small and turned in like wombat feet. Three to four metres long, two metres tall at the shoulder and up to 2800 kilograms in weight; they were not as big as the rhinoceros (to 3600 kilograms in weight) or the hippopotamus (up to 4500 kilograms in weight). Diprotodon was heavily-built with a large body and head; the skull was lightweight filled with numerous air spaces. Two forwardly directed lower incisor teeth give rise to the name. They were grazing animals eating leaves, shrubs and some grasses. Young were carried, and suckled, in backward facing pouches

Diprotodons lived during the Pleistocene epoch appearing about 1.6 million area ago. A fossil Diprotodon now at Coonabarabran Visitor Centre, excavated from Tambar Springs, has been dated to 33,000 years and one near Burra in South Australia to 40,000 to 44,000 year ago. Various dates are given for extinction, the most recent estimated date of final extinction is 20,000 years ago.

The Diprotodon preferred semi-arid plains, savannahs and open woodlands, and is generally absent from hilly, forested coastal regions which were the preferred habitat of the related Zygomaturus. Present-day coastal Diprotodon sites were further from the coast in Pleistocene times.

During the nineteenth century eight Diprotodon species were identified based on size or minor differences in single specimens from widely separated places. Recent work has concluded there was a single species (Diprotodon optatum) of Diprotodon with very wide distribution and with males significantly larger than females. Diprotodons have been found in many sites across Australia but have not been found in southwest Western Australia, in the Northern Territory or in Tasmania (but has been found on King Island)

Information.
  Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ accessed 25 November 2009.
  "Australian Museum - Diprotodon optitatum" at http://australianmuseum.net.au/Diprotodon.optatum
  Regional Council of Goyder at http://www.goyder.sa.gov/site/page.cfm?u=301 - accessed 25 November 2009
 PRINTING  TOP