Eromanga/Cooper Basin Discoveries

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Natural History Society

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Megafauna (new)

 

In 2011 a new site was investigated in Eulo shire. It represents the most highly concentrated accumulation of megafauna discovered anywhere in Australia. In June 2012 this site was more fully explored by Qld Museum and Griffith University scientists with with volunteers and the Outback Gondwana Foundation team.

 

The fossils are expected to be from the Pleistoscene epoch (200,000 to 80,000 years ago). Dr Tim Pietsch from Griffith Uni is in the process of dating the finds using optical stimulated luminescence which will provide a more exact time period.

 

Fossilised remains uncovered at the site so far include:

 

Diprotodon optatum
– Order Diprotodontia includes modern marsupials, koalas, wombats, possums & kangaroos. Diprotodon optatum is the largest marsupial of all time with an approximate length of 3m and a weight of 2-3000kg. The museum’s Dr Scott Hocknull says one of the Diprotodon skeletons, nicknamed Kenny, is one of the largest and best preserved mega-fauna finds he has seen.

 

Varanus priscus – Megalania
– This giant extinct goanna is related to extant species, Varanus komodensis (Komodo dragon), Varanus gig anteus (Perentie), Varanus gilleni (Pygmy Mulga Goanna). It was much larger than its modern day relatives.

 

Procoptodon goliah
– An extinct giant short faced kangaroo with a height of 2.6m and a weight of 232kg.

 

Protemnodon
– An extinct Giant Forest Wallaby.

 

Macropus giganteus Titan
– An extinct giant grey kangaroo

 

Pallimnarchus
– An extinct giant freshwater crocodile.

Microfauna

Many examples of microfauna are also being uncovered on the same site including:

  • Fish
  • Chelid turtle
  • Myrid rodents
  • Echidna
  • Eastern bearded dragon

Plant fossils from the time have also been recovered. These will provide an indication of climate.