The skeletons of a car-sized giant wombat have been discovered in northern Australia. Although scientists already knew the existence of this species, the skeletons found were the most complete ever.
This particular animal was 6 feet 6 inches tall and 11 feet 6 inches long, according to Discovery.
It will be very interesting to see its age and if people came in first, for instance, from the north. There could be some very interesting data to be extracted from this find, said Sue Hand, a professor who participated in the discovery.
The Giant Wombat, also known as the Rhinoceros Wombat and officially called the Diprotodon, is an ancient relative of the modern wombat that resembles a wombat and rhinoceros in physical appearance.
It became extinct about 50,000 years ago, along with other large and unique animals in Australia collectively known as the Australian megafauna (some members of this group, however, have survived to modern day).
Some of the fascinating extinct members of this group include a (possibly) carnivorous flightless bird that stood over 8 feet tall and a very large turtle with horns and a spiked tail.
The discovery of this particular Giant Wombat fossil in Australia is significant because it could possibly be dated. If so, it will contribute to the hotly debated conversation of whether or not it was the arrival of humans that killed off many of the Australian megafauna species.
For example, if the skeleton dates tens of thousands of years after human remains were first found, it weakens the theory that humans caused the extinction of Australian megafauna species.