Two New Extinct Kangaroo Species Discovered
A new research has led to the discovery of two new extinct species of Kangaroos. The research that was headed by the Western Australian Museum found that these species of kangaroos dwelled in the pre-historic rainforests of Australia 24-18 million years ago. The Curator of Mammalogy, Dr Kenny Travouillon, revealed that the two new discovered species are Gumardee springae and Gumardee richi.
He added that assessment of these two species’ teeth and bones suggests that they belong to bettongs and potoroos, which in turn are part of the Potoroidae, a rat-kangaroo family. The existence of Gumardee springae is being estimated to be approximately 24 million years ago, whereas Gumardee pascuali and Gumardee richi are speculated to have lived 20-18 million years ago.
The two new species were found among many fossil deposits that were collected from the Riversleigh World Heritage Area located in northern-western Queensland. Dr Travouillon explained that the new found species supported a set of very long teeth (premolars), similar to that of bettongs and potoroos, which used them to chew fungi. Further, these species are closely associated with a species called Gumardee pascuali, which was named by Prof. Tim Flannery, the Head of the Climate Council of Australia, in 1983.
Dr Travouillon also revealed that more specimens of Gumardee pascuali species have been found since their discovery. Bettongs and potoroos were small in size, with weight ranging from 500g to 3.5kg. However, the newly-discovered species are much larger in size and their weight is anticipated to range between 4 and 6kg, and thust hey have been given the nickname, giant bettong.
“In this second study, we have found that ancient kangaroos didn’t feed on grass like most kangaroos do today, but instead some ate leaves from trees and shrubs (browsers), while others ate a wide variety of foods (omnivore)”, said Dr Travouillon, adding that Gumardee springae were identified to be mostly a leaf eater.
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