Posted by: Craig Woolheater on July 28th, 2007
SYDNEY (AFP) – Scientists in Australia announced Friday they had found the jawbone of a giant wombat the size of a large car that lived 20,000-40,000 years ago.
The jawbone of the ancient marsupial, part of the “mega-fauna” that once roamed pre-historic Australia, was found by a tour guide at the Jenolan Caves in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney.
The animal, named the diprotodon, was two metres (6.5 feet) tall and three metres (10 feet) long, weighing about three tonnes.
By comparison, modern wombats are about one metre (three feet) long, 25 centimetres (10 inches) high and weigh 20-45 kilogrammes (44-100 pounds).
University of New South Wales palaeontologist Michael Archer said the discovery, the first so close to Sydney, could herald a major scientific site at the Jenolan Caves.
“If there’s one jaw, there has to be more material and it could theoretically be on the edge of the beginning of a very large deposit and this is the first bit poking out of the wall and that there are some really fascinating mega-fauna fossils in this cave,” he said.AFP