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Humans lived alongside giant kangaroos and lizards in ancient Australia


The largest kangaroo ever uncovered has been dug up at a fossil site in central Queensland. Estimated to have stood at 2.5 metres and weighed a massive 274 kilograms when it roamed Australia between 40,000 and 60,000 years ago.

Humans lived alongside giant kangaroos and lizards in ancient Australia
Reconstruction of the giant kangaroo with a joey in its pouch next to an adult human of average height
[Credit: Vlad Konstantinov, Andrey Atuchin, Scott Hocknull, Rochelle Lawrence]




It was discovered alongside 13 other super-sized species including car-sized lizards, giant wombats, a marsupial ‘lion’ and seven metre crocodiles at South Walker Creek Mine, near Mackay.

“It’s an amazing discovery - these animals were absolutely enormous,” Queensland Museum palaeontologist Dr Scott Hocknull, who led the research project, said on Sunrise. “And the animals that ate these were even bigger. We had gigantic reptiles living at the same time as people.”

Humans lived alongside giant kangaroos and lizards in ancient Australia
Researchers have been investigating the Queensland site for over 12 years
[Credit: Queensland Museum]


Dr Hocknull says that extreme climate change likely drove the ancient megafauna to extinction. He came to this conclusion after finding that changes to the environment such as increased fire, reduction in grasslands and loss of fresh water coincided with the giant animals’ extinction.

To find out more, visit the Queensland Museum website


TANN

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