Thylacinus megiriani

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Thylacinus megiriani
Temporal range: Late Miocene
Thylacinus megiriani.jpg
Dentary
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Infraclass: Marsupialia
Order: Dasyuromorphia
Family: Thylacinidae
Genus: Thylacinus
Species:
T. megiriani
Binomial name
Thylacinus megiriani
Murray, 1997 [1]

Thylacinus megiriani lived during the late Miocene, 8 million years ago; the area T. megiriani inhabited in the Northern Territory was covered in forest with a permanent supply of water.

Contents

Thylacinus megiriani was a quadrupedal marsupial predator, that in appearance looked similar to a dog with a long snout. Its molar teeth were specialized for carnivory, the cups and crest were reduced or elongated to give the molars a cutting blade, and in proportion with its body, its teeth were exceptionally large, possibly adding to its body weight. Its estimated weight is over 57 kg.

Thylacinus megiriani, along with crocodiles and giant monitor lizards, were thought to be the only predators in Alcoota.

Thylacinus megiriani fossils, along with those of T. potens , have been discovered in Alcoota in the Northern Territory, although the remains of Thylacinus in Alcoota are very rare. Paleontologist have found specimens densely packed together that died within a matter of years of one another. Drought and unpredictable weather likely were the cause.

Taxonomy

The description of the species was published in a 1997 study by Peter F. Murray. The holotype was obtained at the Alcoota fossil area by the geologist Dirk Megirian, whose work in carefully excavating the specimen was honoured by the author in the specific epithet megiriani. [1]

Description

A species of Thylacinus , it was somewhat larger than the recent Tasmanian tiger Thylacinus cynocephalus , and similar weight to another late Miocene species Thylacinus potens , both of which are estimated to have been in a range of 38.7 and 57.3 kilograms. [2] The type material was exceptionally fragmented in its sandstone deposition at Alcoota, requiring the assembly of the dentary for examination and comparison. The first reconstruction of the specimen was modified by the describing author. Murray's reconstruction is of one larger and more robust dentition and palate than T. cynocephalus, but resembling the gracile and elongated snout, more so than the species T. potens. [1]

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The order Peramelemorphia includes the bandicoots and bilbies; it equates approximately to the mainstream of marsupial omnivores. All members of the order are endemic to the twin land masses of Australia-New Guinea and most have the characteristic bandicoot shape: a plump, arch-backed body with a long, delicately tapering snout, very large upright ears, relatively long, thin legs, and a thin tail. Their size varies from about 140 grams up to 4 kilograms, but most species are about one kilogram, or the weight of a half-grown kitten.

Thylacinidae Extinct family of marsupials

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<i>Thylacinus</i> Extinct genus of marsupials

Thylacinus is a genus of extinct carnivorous marsupials from the order Dasyuromorphia. The only recent member was the thylacine, commonly also known as the Tasmanian tiger or Tasmanian wolf, which became extinct in 1936 due to excessive hunting by humans. Other prehistoric species are known from this genus. An unidentified species is known from Pleistocene New Guinea.

Alcoota

The Alcoota Fossil Beds are an important paleontological site in the Northern Territory of Australia located on Alcoota Station in the locality of Anmatjere about 115 kilometres (71 mi) north-east of Alice Springs in the Central Australia region. It is notable for the occurrence of well-preserved, rare, Miocene vertebrate fossils, which provide evidence of the evolution of the Northern Territory’s fauna and climate. The Alcoota Fossil Beds are also significant as a research and teaching site for palaeontology students.

<i>Nimbacinus dicksoni</i> Extinct species of marsupial

Nimbacinus dicksoni is an extinct thylacinid marsupial, a close relative of the recent but extinct thylacinid known as the Tasmanian tiger. It lived approximately 23-16 million years ago in the Miocene period. Nimbacinus dicksoni was about 1.6 ft (50 cm) long. Being a predator, it likely ate birds, small mammals, and reptiles. Like the recently-extinct thylacine, it may have been an awkward runner and used stamina to catch prey rather than speed. Fossils have been found in Australia at Riversleigh in north-western Queensland and Bullock Creek in the Northern Territory.

<i>Thylacinus potens</i> Extinct species of marsupial


Thylacinus potens was the largest species of the family Thylacinidae, originally known from a single poorly preserved fossil discovered by Michael O. Woodburne in 1967 in a Late Miocene locality near Alice Springs, Northern Territory. It preceded the most recent species of thylacine by 4–6 million years, and was 5% bigger, was more robust and had a shorter, broader skull. Its size is estimated to be similar to that of a grey wolf; the head and body together were around 5 feet long, and its teeth were less adapted for shearing compared to those of the now-extinct thylacine.

Thylacoleonidae Extinct family of marsupials

Thylacoleonidae is a family of extinct meat-eating marsupials from Australia, referred to as marsupial lions. The best known is Thylacoleo carnifex, also called the marsupial lion. The clade ranged from the Late Oligocene to the Pleistocene, with some species the size of a possum and others as large as a leopard. As a whole, they were largely arboreal, in contrast to the mostly terrestrial dasyuromorphs, monitor lizards and mekosuchines.

Thylacinus macknessi lived during the early Miocene and is the oldest known member of the genus Thylacinus. It is named after Brian Mackness, a supporter of Australian vertebrate paleontology.

Maximucinus muirheadae is the largest known thylacinid species that lived in Queensland, Australia from the late Oligocene to the middle Miocene. The species was a quadrupedal marsupial predator, that in appearance looked similar to a dog with a long snout. Its molar teeth were specialized for carnivory; the cups and crest were reduced or elongated to give the molars a cutting blade. It is estimated to have weighed about 18 kilograms.

Muribacinus gadiyuli lived during the middle Miocene in Riversleigh. The species name comes from Wanyi aboriginal word for "little", in reference to its considerably small size compared to the modern thylacine and was similar in size to a fox-terrier dog, and "father" for the ancestral characteristics of the fossilised teeth.

Mutpuracinus archibaldi is an extinct carnivorous, quadrupedal marsupial that lived during the middle Miocene and is the smallest known thylacinid at approximately 1.1 kilograms, the size of a quoll, though, more closely related to the recently extinct thylacine.

Ngamalacinus timmulvaneyi lived during the early Miocene and has been found in Riversleigh.

Nimbacinus richi lived during the middle Miocene and has been found in deposits in Bullock Creek in the Northern Territory of Australia.

Tyarrpecinus rothi is an extinct thylacinid marsupial that lived during the late Miocene and has been found at the Alcoota scientific reserve in the Northern Territory. The specific name honors Karl Roth for his contributions to the natural history of central Australia.

Wabulacinus ridei lived during the early Miocene in Riversleigh. It is named after David Ride, who made the first revision of thylacinid fossils. The material was found in system C of the Camel Spurtum assembledge.

Thylacoleo hilli lived during the Pliocene and was half the size of Thylacoleo crassidentatus.

<i>Microleo</i> Extinct genus of marsupials

Microleo attenboroughi is a very small species of the Thylacoleonidae family from the Early Miocene of Australia, living in the wet forest that dominated Riversleigh about 18 million years ago. The genus Microleo is currently known from a broken palate and two pieces of jaw, containing some teeth and roots that correspond to those found in other species of thylacoleonids. The shape and structure of the blade-like P3 tooth, a premolar, distinguished the species as a new genus. It was found in Early Miocene-aged deposits of the Riversleigh fossil site in Queensland, regarded as one of the most significant palaeontological sites yet discovered, and named for the naturalist David Attenborough in appreciation of his support for its heritage listing. The anatomy of Microleo suggests the genus is basal to all the known thylacoleonids, known as the marsupial lions, although its relative size prompted a discover to describe it as the "feisty" kitten of the family.

Propalorchestes is a fossil genus of Diprotodontidae, mammals that existed in Australia.

Thylacinus yorkellus is a fossil species of carnivorous marsupial, a sister species of the recently extinct Thylacinus cynocephalus, the Tasmanian tiger, both of which existed on mainland Australia.

Ian Archibald is an Australian taxidermist responsible for the preparation of animal specimens exhibited in Australian museums.

References

  1. 1 2 3 Murray, P.F. (1997). "Thylacinus megiriani, a new species of thylacine (Marsupialia: Thylacinidae) from the Ongeva Local Fauna of Central Australia". Records of the South Australian Museum. 30: 43–61.
  2. Yates, A.M. (12 May 2015). "Thylacinus (Marsupialia: Thylacinidae) from the Mio-Pliocene boundary and the diversity of Late Neogene thylacinids in Australia". PeerJ. 3. doi: 10.7717/peerj.931 .