Kangaroos – a weird mob

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Skull of Simosthenurus gilli.
Image: Jon Augier
Source: Museum Victoria

Skull of Procoptodon goliah.
Image: Jon Augier
Source: Museum Victoria

Skull of Protemnodon.
Image: Jon Augier
Source: Museum Victoria

Quaternary

HOW BIG IT WAS

Kangaroos relative size depiction as described below
This skull of Simosthenurus is approximately 15cm long, this skull of Protemnodon is approximately 20cm long and this skull of Procoptodon is approximately 25-30 cm long.

Today’s kangaroos have some weird and alarming ancestors. The largest living kangaroo is the Red Kangaroo, standing nearly two metres tall. But even the largest ‘big red’ would have been dwarfed by Procoptodon, the largest of the extinct macropods. It had a short, flattened snout, making the skull look a little like a giant human skull.

A smaller relative of this giant was Simosthenurus, which also had a short face with teeth adapted for browsing shrubs.

Protemnodon was a diverse genus of forest-dwelling wallabies that is now extinct. The name means ‘front-cutting teeth’, which describes their distinctive, blade-shaped premolar tooth.

A TRAIL THROUGH TIME

Australia's oldest mammal fossils are over 100 million years old. See how they have changed over time.

BishopsNeohelosJanjucetusDiprotodon

WHERE IT WAS FOUND

map kangaroos

This fossil of Procoptodon was discovered in NSW. The fossils of Protemnodon and Simosthenurus were discovered in Victoria.

RELATED OBJECTS

Other objects from the Quaternary

Western district volcanoesDiprotodonPalorchestesZygomaturusMegafauna track wayThylacoleoStone tools