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Encyclopedia > Diprotodont
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Diprotodonts

Conservation status: Prehistoric


Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Subclass: Marsupialia
Order: Diprotodontia
Suborder: Vombatiformes
Family: Diprotodontidae
Genus: Diprotodon
Owen, 1838
Species

Diprotodon opatum
Diprotodon minor

Diprotodon loderi
Diprotodon annextans
Scientific classification or biological classification is how biologists group and categorize extinct and living species of organisms. ... Phyla Porifera (sponges) Ctenophora (comb jellies) Cnidaria Placozoa Subregnum Bilateria  Acoelomorpha  Orthonectida  Rhombozoa  Myxozoa  Superphylum Deuterostomia     Chordata (vertebrates, etc. ... Typical Classes Subphylum Urochordata - Tunicates Ascideiacea Thaliacea Larvacea Subphylum Cephalochordata - Lancelets Subphylum Myxini - Hagfishes Subphylum Vertebrata - Vertebrates Petromyzontida - Lampreys Placodermi (extinct) Chondrichthyes - Cartilaginous fishes Acanthodii (extinct) Actinopterygii - Ray-finned fishes Actinistia - Coelacanths Dipnoi - Lungfishes Amphibia - Amphibians Reptilia - Reptiles Aves - Birds Mammalia - Mammals Chordates (phylum Chordata) include the vertebrates, together with... Orders Subclass Embrithopoda (extinct) Subclass Creodonta (extinct) Hyaenodontidae Oxyaenidae Subclass Multituberculata (extinct) Plagiaulacida Cimolodonta Subclass Palaeoryctoides (extinct) Subclass Triconodonta (extinct) Subclass Placentalia Afrosoricida Artiodactyla Carnivora Cetacea Chiroptera Dermoptera Desmostylia (extinct) Hyracoidea Insectivora Lagomorpha Macroscelidea Perissodactyla Pholidota Primates Proboscidea Rodentia Scandentia Sirenia Tubulidentata Xenarthra Subclass Marsupialia Dasyuromorphia Didelphimorphia Diprotodontia Microbiotheria Notoryctemorphia... Orders Superorder Ameridelphia Didelphimorphia Paucituberculata Superorder Australidelphia Microbiotheria Dasyuromorphia Peramelemorphia Notoryctemorphia Diprotodontia Marsupials are mammals in which the female typically has a pouch (called the marsupium, from which the name Marsupial derives) in which it rears its young through early infancy. ... Suborders Vombatiformes Phalangeriformes Macropodiformes Diprotodontia is a large taxon of about 120 marsupial mammals including the kangaroos, wallabies, possums, Koala, wombats, and many others. ... Families Phascolarctidae Vombatidae Vombatiformes is one of the two suborders of the large marsupial order Diprotodontia. ... Sir Richard Owen and Dinornis bird skeleton Sir Richard Owen (July 20, 1804 - December 18, 1892) was an English biologist, comparative anatomist and palaeontologist. ...

Diprotodonts were the largest marsupials that ever lived. They existed from 1.6 million years ago until about 50,000 years ago (through most of the Pleistocene epoch). Diprotodon spp. fossils have been found in many places across Australia, including complete skulls and skeletons, as well as hair and foot impressions. More than one female skeleton has been found with a baby lying where it died while still in its mother's pouch. Orders Superorder Ameridelphia Didelphimorphia Paucituberculata Superorder Australidelphia Microbiotheria Dasyuromorphia Peramelemorphia Notoryctemorphia Diprotodontia Marsupials are mammals in which the female typically has a pouch (called the marsupium, from which the name Marsupial derives) in which it rears its young through early infancy. ... The Pleistocene Epoch is part of the geologic timescale, usually dated as 1. ... A fossil Ammonite Fossils are the mineralized remains of animals or plants or other traces such as footprints. ...


They inhabited open forest, woodlands, and grasslands, possibly staying close to water, and eating leaves, shrubs and some grasses. The largest were hippopotamus-sized: about three meters from nose to tail, standing two meters tall at the shoulder. The closest surviving relatives are the wombats and the Koala. It is fancifully suggested that diprotodonts may have been the inspiration for the legends of the bunyip. Binomial name Hippopotamus amphibius Linnaeus, 1758 The Hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius) or Greek ίππόποταμος (river horse) is a large, plant-eating African mammal, one of only two living and three (or four) recently extinct species in the family Hippopotamidae. ... Genera and Species Vombatus É. Geoffroy, 1803 Vombatus ursinus (Shaw, 1800) Lasiorhinus Gray, 1863 Lasiorhinus latifrons (Owen, 1845) Lasiorhinus krefftii Owen, 1873 Wombats are Australian marsupials in appearance rather like a small, very short-legged and muscular bear approximately one meter in length, and with a mere nubbin of a tail. ... Binomial name Phascolarctos cinereus (Goldfuss, 1817) The Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus; sometimes also spelled Phascolarctus cinereus) is a thickset arboreal marsupial herbivore endemic to Australia, and the only representative of its family, Phascolarctidae. ... The bunyip (devil or spirit) is a mythical creature from Australian Aboriginal mythology. ...

Cast of a diprotodont skeleton
Cast of a diprotodont skeleton

Contents

Photo of a cast of a composite diprotodon skeleton excavated from Lake Callabonna, and on display at the Queensland Museum, photo taken by Erich Schulz This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... Photo of a cast of a composite diprotodon skeleton excavated from Lake Callabonna, and on display at the Queensland Museum, photo taken by Erich Schulz This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ...


Theories on diprotodont extinction

Diprotodonts, along with a wide range of other Australian megafauna, became extinct shortly after humans arrived in Australia about 50,000 years ago. Three theories have been advanced to explain the mass extinction. Megafauna are the large animals of any particular region or time. ...


Climate change

Australia has undergone a very long process of gradual aridification since it split off from Gondwana about 40 million years ago. From time to time the process reverses for a period, but overall the trend has been strongly toward lower rainfall. The recent ice ages produced no significant glaciation in mainland Australia but long periods of cold and very dry weather. It is suggested that lowered rainfall during the last ice age killed off all the large diprotodonts. Critics of this theory point out that the large diprotodonts had already survived a long series of similar ice ages and that there does not seem to be any particular reason why the most recent one should have achieved what all the previous ice ages had failed to do, and add that, in any case, the peak period of climate change appears to have been 25,000 years after the extinctions. Finally, critics point out that even during climatic extremes some parts of the continent always remain relatively exempt: the tropical north, for example, stays fairly warm and wet in all climatic circumstances; alpine valleys are less affected by drought, and so on. Pangea broke into the two supercontinents, Laurasia and Gondwana The southern supercontinent Gondwana (originally Gondwanaland) included most of the landmasses which make up todays continents of the southern hemisphere, including Antarctica, South America, Africa, Madagascar, India, Arabia, Australia-New Guinea and New Zealand. ... Variations in CO2, temperature and dust from the Vostok ice core over the last 400 000 years For the animated movie, see Ice Age (movie). ...


Human hunting

The 'blitzkrieg' theory begins with the observation that the extinctions appear to have coincided with the arrival of human beings on the continent, notes that, in broad, it was the largest and least well-defended species that died out, and argues that the obvious explanation is that human hunters killed and ate them—as happened with the megafauna of New Zealand and, at least in part, America—probably in the space of only a thousand years or so. Recent finds of Diprotodon bones which appear to display butchering marks lend support to this theory. Critics of this theory regard it as simplistic, argue that (unlike New Zealand and America) there is little direct evidence of hunting, and that the dates on which the theory rests are too uncertain to be relied on. Megafauna are the large animals of any particular region or time. ... The Americas (sometimes referred to as America) is the area including the land mass located between the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean, generally divided into North America and South America. ...


Human land management

The third theory also places humans at centre stage, but as indirect rather than direct agents of change. It draws a link between the known land-management and hunting practices of modern Aboriginal people as recorded by the earliest European settlers before Aboriginal society was devastated by European contact and disease—regular and persistent burning off to drive game, open up dense thickets of vegetation, and create fresh green regrowth for both people and game animals to eat—and the sudden increase in ash deposits at the time that people first arrived in Australia. By changing the landscape with fire, this theory argues, the first human settlers destroyed the ecosystem on which large marsupial fauna depended. Australian Aborigines are the main indigenous people of Australia. ...


Conclusion

These theories are not mutually exclusive. Although they are hotly and sometimes acrimoniously debated by specialists, few would argue that it is necessary to choose one single explanation for the extinction of many different animals in a wide range of different environments, from tropical to temperate, from desert to rainforest. Secondly, each of the three proposed mechanisms is broadly supportive of the other two, and often it makes little difference which one is regarded as the 'primary' cause. For example, if burning an area of fairly thick forest and thus turning it into a more open, grassy environment is considered likely to impact on the viability of a large browser (an animal that eats leaves and shoots rather than grasses), the reverse is equally true: removing the browsing animals (by eating them, or by any other means) within a few years produces a very thick undergrowth which, when a fire eventually starts through natural causes (as fires tend to do every few hundred years), burns with greater than usual ferocity. The burnt-out area is then repopulated with a greater proportion of fire-loving plant species (notably eucalypts, some acacias, and most of the native grasses) which are unsuitable habitat for most browsing animals. Either way, the trend is toward the modern Australian environment of highly flammable open sclerophyllous forests, woodlands and grasslands, none of which are suitable for large, slow-moving browsing animals—and either way, the changed microclimate produces substantially less rainfall. Species About 600, see text Eucalyptus is a diverse genus of trees (rarely shrubs), the members of which dominate the tree flora of Australia. ... Species About 1,300; see List of Acacia species Acacia is a genus of shrubs and trees of Gondwanian origin belonging to the subfamily Mimosoideae of the Pea Family Fabaceae, first described from Africa by Linnaeus in 1773. ... Arid, largely treeless areas aside, most Australian bushland is sclerophyll forest. ...


  Results from FactBites:
 
biology - Diprotodontia (381 words)
Diprotodonts are almost all herbivorous: there are a few insectivores and omnivores, but these seem to be relatively recent adaptations from the mainstream herbivorous mould.
Many of the largest and least atheletic diprotodonts (along with a wide range of other Australian megafauna) became extinct when humans first arrived in Australia about 50,000 years ago, possibly as a direct result of hunting, but more probably as a result of widespread habitat changes brought about by human activity, fire in particular.
The diprotodont jaw is short, usually with 3 pairs of upper incisors (wombats, like rodents have only one pair), and no lower canines.
Kids.Net.Au - Encyclopedia > Diprotodontia (374 words)
Diprotodonts are almost all herbivorous: there are a few insectivores and omnivores, but these seem to be relatively recent adaptations from the mainstream herbivorous mould.
Many of the largest and least atheletic diprotodonts (along with a wide range of other Australian megafauna) became extinct when humans first arrived in Australia about 50,000 years ago, possibly as a direct result of hunting, but more probably as a result of widespread habitat changes brought about by human activity, fire in particular.
The diprotodont jaw is short, usually with 3 pairs of upper incisors (wombats, like rodents have only one pair), and no lower canines.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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