Largest complete skeleton of prehistoric marsupial discovered in Australia

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The remains of a giant prehistoric marsupial — the size of a modern SUV — have been found on a remote Australian outback property, palaeontologists revealed Monday. 

A young volunteer helps recover the ancient bones |[Credit: Paul Sutherland/ABC]

The discovery has excited experts as they believe the remains will form the world’s most complete skeleton of a diprotodon — a large 3.3-ton (three-tonne), hippopotamus-sized version of the common Australian wombat — ever formed from a single specimen. 

The remains were found at an ongoing dig at Floraville Station, near Burketown — 1,370 miles (2,205 kilometers) north-west of Brisbane in Queenland. 

Project leader Professor Michael Archer from the University of New South Wales told the Australian public broadcaster, the ABC, it was unusual for all the creature’s bones to be found in one place and that most importantly they have found the creature’s skull. 

The specimen will be taken to the Riversleigh Fossil Center where it will be processed and cleaned, before being taken to the Queensland Museum. 

Kylie and Ernie Camp, the owners of the property where the specimen was discovered, told NewsCore their land has been investigated for fossils since the 1970s. 

Many diprotodon skeletons have been discovered across Australia — the most complete to date was discovered at Tambar Springs, 190 miles (300 kilometers) from Sydney, in 1979 and was believed to be 33,000 years old. 

The diprotodon lived during the Pleistocene Epoch, an era spanning 2.5 million to 12,000 years ago. 

Source: Pocono Resord [July 04, 2011]

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