They applied their techniques to a range of Australian megafauna that became extinct over the last 50,000 years, such as the giant terror bird Genyornis, the rhino-sized 'wombat' Diprotodon
, and the marsupial 'lion' Thylacoleo.
Long gone are the Pleistocene giant top carnivores Thylacoleo, Megalania and Wonambi and many of their large prey such as Diprotodon
. After the extinction of much of the megafauna and later arrival of the Dingo, south-east Australia had a simplified food web which was then further modified by the arrival of Europeans with their introduced predators and herbivores.
"These leviathans included the largest marsupial that ever lived - the rhinoceros-sized Diprotodon
- and short-faced kangaroos so big we can't even be sure they could hop.
For decades, debate has centred on what wiped out megafauna such as the rhinoceros-sized, wombat-like Diprotodon
, the largest known lizard, and kangaroos so big that scientists are studying whether they could hop.
Follow the clues (pictures of tracks and droppings) to determine who did that and then discover interesting facts, like: did you know that kangaroos can't sweat like humans, so they stay in the shade on hot days; or that wombats are related to the Diprotodon
, a huge prehistoric marsupial?
The demise of two megafaunal icons of the Australia Pleistocene Diprotodon
and Genyornis are discussed in detail particularly in terms of the geochronological methods used to establish their time ranges.
Extinct Bits of bone wombat bulk diprotodon
a time-worn crumbling prehistoric hulk.
Dr John Long, a member of the team from Museum Victoria in Melbourne, said, 'We're never going to find a diprotodon
(one of the largest extinct marsupials) with a spear in it, but this is as close as you can get to nailing the argument.'
to Detribalisation: Studies of change among Australian Aborigines.
Waterman (eds), Diprotodon
to Detribalisation, Michigan State University Press, East Lansing, 278-84.
Others argue that Aboriginal fire stick farming has denuded much of Australia's woodland and turned it into rolling savannah countryside Aboriginal hunting techniques have resulted in the extinction of the Giant Red Kangaroo and the Diprotodon
, the large ancestor of the wombat.