Extinct Megafauna of Australia

The extinct megafauna of Australia were about 30% larger than their living relatives.

They weren't quite as large as mammoths and dinosaurs, but by Australian standards they definitely were very large.


There were the giant monotremes such as huge platypus and echidna the size of a sheep.

The largest group was marsupials, and it included diprotodon (a wombat like animal size of a hippopotamus), marsupial tapir (cattle sized), giant kangaroos (three metres tall), giant wallabies, giant koalas, Tasmanian tigers, marsupial lions and three-metre carnivorous rat kangaroos.

Tasmanian Wolf or Tiger (Thylacinus Cynocephalus)
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There were also giant birds such as a 500-kg thunderbird, a 250-kg duck, and giant waterfowl.

Reptiles included 2.5 metre turtles, seven metre carnivorous goannas, seven metre terrestrial crocodiles, and the largest Australian snakes ever known.
   
All went extinct quite suddenly during Pleistocene, between about 45,000 years ago.

The cause is an ongoing discussion between human causes and climate change, however the climate change at the time was no more extreme than many before that the mega fauna had survivied; while the timing of the extinction very obviously coincides with the arrival of the first humans in Australia.

A combination of hunting and landscape burning has been suggested to be the cause.







































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