Diprotodon optatum

(di-pro-toe-don)
Meaning of name: Two forward teeth

Click here to view larger image.  
FOOD IT ATE
Diprotodon was a herbivore.
LENGTH: 3 metres Diprotodon compared to an African elephant and a woman.
Diprotodon lived 1.8 million to 40 000 years ago, Pleistocene Click to view animal family tree Click to view animal family tree

Diprotodon optatum — a giant marsupial

Diprotodon optatum has the distinction of being the largest marsupial ever. Although related to the wombat and koala, Diprotodon was more like a rhinoceros in size. It was three metres long, almost two metres high at the shoulder and weighed as much as two tonnes. It had pillar-like legs, broad footpads (a little like those of an elephant) and strong claws on its front feet, probably for digging up roots. It was not a particularly handsome animal — its feet were turned inward so it had a pigeon-toed appearance, it had a massive skull and two large upper front teeth!

Diprotodon lived in open woodland and scrubland in family groups of up to a dozen animals. It was quite widespread, and almost certainly shared the continent for a period with the humans. Its large size would have enabled it to survive on the coarse vegetation of inland Australia and travel further in search of water. Diprotodon seems to have become extinct around 45,000 years ago.

WHERE IT WAS FOUND The fossils of Diprotodon were discovered at Lake Callabonna, South Australia.
WHAT GROUP IT BELONGED TO

MEGAFAUNA

Big land animals that evolved millions of years after the dinosaurs and included mammals, birds and reptiles.
Other Megafauna