New marsupial lion discovered

Thursday, 7th December, 2017

The marsupial lion Wakaleo schouteni.

SCIENTISTS have discovered evidence of a new species of marsupial lion that has been extinct for at least 19 million years in north-western Queensland.

A team of scientists from University of NSW have uncovered remains of the animal- including parts of its skull, teeth and humerus in the Riversleigh World Heritage Area.

Wakaleo schouteni- named after paleoartist Peter Schouten, was a predator that frequented rainforests between 18 and 26 million years ago in the late Oligocene or early Miocene era.

The animal is expected to have grown to around the size of a dog- weighing around 23kg.

It grew to around a fifth of the size of Thylacoleo carnifex- the largest and last known surviving marsupial lion, which is believed to have become extinct around 30,000 years ago.

The discovery followed the discovery of the fossilised remains of a kitten-sized marsupial lion at the same site a year ago.

Researchers believe it was one of two species of marsupial lion present during he late Oligocene era at least 25 million years ago.

The other- Wakaleo pitikantensis was identified from remains discovered in South Australia near Lake Pitikanta in 1961.

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