Neohelos – a browsing marsupial

(nee-oh-heel-oss)

Skull of Neohelos stirtoni.
Image: Jon Augier
Source: Museum Victoria

Tertiary

HOW BIG IT WAS

Neohelos relative size depiction as described below
This skull is approximately 25 cm long.

This marsupial was a browsing herbivore from the ancient forests of the Northern Territory. The occurrence of browsing marsupials like Neohelos rather than grazing marsupials reflects the nature of the environment at the time – browsers fed on the more abundant shrubs and trees, whereas grazers, like many kangaroos, feed on grass. Neohelos represents an animal adapted to conditions prior to the expansion of the grassland habitats in Australia. 

Neohelos was roughly the size of a calf, with adult males being larger than the females. About 12 million years old, Neohelos is an early ancestor of marsupial megafauna that would later dominate the Australian landscape.

A TRAIL THROUGH TIME

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

BishopsJanjucetusDiprotodonKangaroos

WHERE IT WAS FOUND

Neohelos map

This fossil of Neohelos stirtoni was discovered in the Northern Territory.

RELATED OBJECTS

Other objects from the Tertiary

Anglesea floraCarcharoclesKambaraJanjucetusHaddon nutsBrown coalQuipollornis