What is Mukupirna fortidentata?

Scientists in Australia have discovered evidence of a previously unknown ancient marsupial called Mukupirna fortidentata. This ancient species roamed the country around 25 million years ago. Researchers at Flinders University pieced together fossils of this long-extinct marsupial after finding it in Australia’s remote Northern Territory. Let’s delve into the details of this discovery and its implications.

Mukupirna fortidentata: The Wombat-like Marsupial

The Mukupirna fortidentata is thought to have weighed up to 50 kg, making it one of the largest marsupials alive at the time. This wombat-like creature had a powerful bite. It is believed to have consumed tough fruits and nuts. It is related to Mukupirna nambensis, another marsupial species.

The Extinction of Mukupirnids

According to researchers, the extinction of Mukupirnids started during a period of changing climate as ancient forest regions in Australia’s centre became increasingly arid. The mukupirnids seemed to have gone extinct sometime before the end of the late Oligocene (25-23 million years ago).

Implications of the Discovery

The discovery of the Mukupirna fortidentata is significant in shedding light on the evolution and extinction of ancient marsupial lineages. This discovery helps scientists put the surviving marsupial groups, like the wombats and possums, in a broader evolutionary context. However, the extinction of the Mukupirnids remains a mystery, and scientists will have to continue their research to understand what drove these ancient marsupials to extinction.



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