New Species Of Marsupial Lion That Roamed Australia 19 Million Years Ago Discovered
Researchers have discovered fossils of a flesh-eating marsupial lion that lived some 19 million years ago in Australia because where else would a marsupial lion live? Scientists from the University of New South Wales found 19-million-year-old fossils in the Riversleigh World Heritage Area of north-western Queensland. The new species of half marsupial, half lion was named “Wakaleo schouteni” in honor of wildlife illustrator Peter Schouten.
The fossils from the extinct animal included a nearly complete skull, teeth, and upper arm bones. “It is very rare to get a complete skull of a marsupial lion that is this old, so this specimen is a real treasure,” says Dr. Anna Gillespie from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, lead author of the paper that was published in the Journal of Systematic Palaeontology. The prehistoric creature had large blade-like teeth to tear up prey that was abundant in Australia’s then rainforests. The lion would have hunted lizards, birds, frogs, and small possums. The lion’s teeth suggest that it may have also eaten small servings of vegetables.