Anyone Lose a Giant Wombat?

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on July 28th, 2007

diprotodon giant wombat

Giant wombat bone found in Australia

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

diprotodon giant wombat

About Craig Woolheater
Co-founder of Cryptomundo in 2005. I have appeared in or contributed to the following TV programs, documentaries and films: OLN's Mysterious Encounters: "Caddo Critter", Southern Fried Bigfoot, Travel Channel's Weird Travels: "Bigfoot", History Channel's MonsterQuest: "Swamp Stalker", The Wild Man of the Navidad, Destination America's Monsters and Mysteries in America: Texas Terror - Lake Worth Monster, Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot: Return to Boggy Creek and Beast of the Bayou.

12 Responses to “Anyone Lose a Giant Wombat?”

  1. mauka responds:

    I myself find a three ton wombat more frightening then a one ton crocodile.

  2. traveler responds:

    It always amazes me how someone can take one single bone, a jaw bone no less, and not only draw the entire animal, color included, but also draw its offspring, or in some cases, its mate. Simply amazing.

  3. Alligator responds:

    A 3 ton wombat? Wow. I’m not too familiar with Australia’s prehistory but I’d hate to meet the primary predator of this animal. I wonder what it was? A reptile like a giant monitor, some kind of marsupial tiger like Thylacinus or maybe even a bird – like the Phorusrhacids, the “terror birds” of the Pleistocene. Anyone here know a bit more about the Australian mega-fauna that would have some ideas?

  4. bill green responds:

    hey craig & everyone wow this is a very interesting new article about a giant wombat. thanks bill green

  5. poodpood responds:

    I agree with traveler, it’s ridiculous to assume that the beast in question looks this way.

    Our notions regarding the appearance of any extinct animal seems to be based on a spurious ability to reconstruct how it looked from skeletal/fossil remains.

    We weren’t there, we didn’t see it or photograph it.

    I bet if we could travel back in time we would be very surprised how different the common perceptions of ancient creatures differ from the actual thing.

  6. drjon responds:

    I had a crypto report from a rural friend once that could very well have been a diprotodon from the description.

  7. flame821 responds:

    I disagree about the reconstruction. We have forensic scientists and artists who go to great lengths to study and hone their craft. They themselves admit that the colour of the skin/scales/fur is just a guess, but one based on what we see in the natural world around us.

    Could this animal be brightly coloured like a peacock or perhaps an albino. Sure it COULD, but most animals will be designed to NOT draw attention to themselves, unless mating, and tend to be in the brown to black, green to grey shades of the spectrum. As evidence and knowledge grow I am sure the pictures will be refined but I would be very surprised if the basic structure of the animal changes.

  8. shumway10973 responds:

    flame821, all we are saying is this, They just found the first part of the animal–a jaw bone. That’s all it is right now, and they have a drawing of the whole thing. How do they even know it’s a wombat? The average veggie marsupial’s jaw structure can’t be that much different. I think the main one that got me questioning the drawings was Nebraska man. It was suppose to be a missing link to mankind, but the archaeologist only found a tooth, which turned out to belong to an ancient razor back (that’s a pig for those not up on Nebraska). Ok, how about this, we only have a jawbone, how do they know what its hind quarter is going to look like? How do they know it wasn’t black with a stripe down its back? How do they know that this one didn’t have wings (they only found a jawbone)? That is all we are saying. I have no problem with forensics reconstructing people and animals we have knowledge of…it’s the reconstructing of completely unknowns from one small piece of the puzzle that I don’t like.

  9. U.T. Raptor responds:

    This isn’t the first Diprotodon ever found, you know…

  10. Quacker1 responds:

    This is not the first diprotodon ever discovered, just the first this close to Sydney. And just like Flame said, these reconstructions are based off of the natural world around us today. Paleontologists and forensic paleo artists train their entire lives to make well-reasoned, educated guesses as to the appearance of prehistoric beasts. In addition, they could probably also determine how it may have acted and what it ate, and how that may base it into a similar category as todays wombats by studying the fossilized flora and the teeth of the jaw. In all honesty, teeth tell more about a fossilized animal than any other part, and if there are still teeth intact, (they never mentioned it), this is truly an amazing discovery.

  11. YarriWarrior responds:

    No one is assuming Diprotodon looked this way just based on a jaw bone. Diprotodon is well known from a number of complete or nearly complete skeletons. It was indeed a giant wombat. What makes this jaw discovery outstanding is that it is the closest to Sydney that this type of megafauna fossil has been found. Diprotodon was already described long ago. Also of interest is the fact of the possibly young age of this fossil. It may be younger than the supposed great megafauna extinction, showing these animal lived on. The main predator of great beast was the marsupial lion Thylacoleo Carnifex. Yarri

  12. Rillo777 responds:

    Was the first picture a modern Wombat? It looks a little like that picture which appeared on a thread a couple of weeks ago.

Sorry. Comments have been closed.

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