Diprotodon, or giant wombat or the rhinoceros wombat, is the largest known marsupial ever to have lived. This extinct species is member Australian megafauna. The pigeon-toed animals were widespread across Australia about 50,000 years ago, when the first indigenous people are believed to have lived, but they first appeared about 1.6 million years ago. Diprotodon superficially resembled a rhinoceros without a horn. It had a coat similar to a modern wombat.
Recently, the scientists have unearthed the biggest find yet of prehistoric "giant wombat" skeletons, revealing clues to the reasons for the species’ extinction. Its worth note that there was several theories related to extinction of the Diprotodon, out of them one is that they were killed for hunting by prehistoric man. The recent find, in Queensland, Australia, of about 50 Diprotodons – the largest marsupial that ever lived – has been called a "palaeontologists’ goldmine".
Big Beast – Diprotodon Optatum
- Lived 1.6m to 40,000 years ago
- Two metres tall at the shoulder
- Grazed on leaves and shrubs
- Closest living kin: Wombat and koala
It is unclear how or why they became extinct, but it could have been due to hunting by humans or, more likely, a changing climate. (BBC )