Australians find huge mega-wombat graveyard (Update)

Jun 21, 2012 by Amy Coopes
A reconstructed model of a "diprotodon", an ancient rhino-sized mega-wombat, is seen at the Australian Museum in Sydney on Thursday. Australian scientists Thursday unveiled the biggest-ever graveyard of diprotodons, with the site potentially holding valuable clues on the species' extinction. The remote fossil deposit in outback Queensland state is thought to contain up to 50 diprotodon skeletons.

Australian scientists Thursday unveiled the biggest-ever graveyard of an ancient rhino-sized mega-wombat called diprotodon, with the site potentially holding valuable clues on the species' extinction.

The remote fossil deposit in outback Queensland state is thought to contain up to 50 diprotodon skeletons including a huge specimen named Kenny, whose jawbone alone is 70 centimetres (28 inches) long.

Lead scientist on the dig, Scott Hocknull from the Queensland Museum in Brisbane, said Kenny was one of the largest diprotodons he had ever seen and one of the best preserved specimens.

Pigeon-toed and with a backward-facing pouch large enough to carry an adult human, Hocknull likened diprotodon to "a cross between a wombat and a bear but the size of a rhinoceros".

The deposit contained the largest concentration of mega-wombat fossils ever discovered and could hold important clues on how the diprotodon lived and what caused it to perish, he said.

"When we did the initial survey I was just completely blown away by the concentrations of these fragments," he told AFP by telephone from the far-flung desert dig site, which he estimated at between 100,000-200,000 years old.

A reconstructed model of a "diprotodon", an ancient rhino-sized mega-wombat, is seen at the Australian Museum in Sydney on Thursday. Australian scientists Thursday unveiled the biggest-ever graveyard of diprotodons, with the site potentially holding valuable clues on the species' extinction. The remote fossil deposit in outback Queensland state is thought to contain up to 50 diprotodon skeletons.

"It's a paleontologists' goldmine where we can really see what these megafauna were doing, how they actually behaved, what their ecology was.

"With so many fossils it gives us a unique opportunity to see these animals in their environment, basically, so we can reconstruct it."

The mega-wombats appeared to have been trapped in boggy conditions at the site after seeking refuge there from extremely dry conditions during a period of significant climate change in ancient Australia, he added.

Diprotodon, the largest marsupial ever to roam the earth, weighing up to 2.8 tonnes, lived between two million and 50,000 years ago and died out around the time indigenous tribes first appeared.

Human and climate triggers for its disappearance are hotly debated.

A reconstructed model of a "diprotodon", an ancient rhino-sized mega-wombat, is seen at the Australian Museum in Sydney on Thursday. Australian scientists Thursday unveiled the biggest-ever graveyard of diprotodons, with the site potentially holding valuable clues on the species' extinction. The remote fossil deposit in outback Queensland state is thought to contain up to 50 diprotodon skeletons.

A huge array of other animal bones have also been found at the site, including the teeth of a six-metre long venomous lizard called megalania and the teeth and bony back-plates of an enormous ancient crocodile.

"We're almost certain that most of these carcasses of diprotodon have been torn apart by both the crocodiles and the lizards, because we've found shed teeth within their skeletons from both animals," Hocknull said.

Towering super-kangaroos up to 2.5 metres tall called protemnodon have also been discovered at the location, along with the remains of tiny frogs, rodents and fish -- an important find in what is now an extremely arid region.

"Very little is known about arid zone fish and their evolution, and finding a fossil record for them is amazing," said Hocknull.

A relative of the modern-day wombat, the herbivorous diprotodon was just one of a host of megafauna to roam ancient Australia including the tree-sized kangaroos and gigantic crocodiles.

Megafauna are thought to have evolved to such large sizes to cope with inhospitable climates and food scarcity, with fossils found in Australia of prehistoric emus, tree-dwelling crocodiles and carnivorous kangaroos.

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kevinrtrs
1.2 / 5 (19) Jun 21, 2012
Hocknull said the remains of hundreds of tiny fish, frogs, lizards and mammals had been found at the site, which he described as important a discovery as the mega-wombat bones.

With such a mixture of different species, all in one place at the same time, one is left with the impression that this is NOT a normal habitat.

This sounds much more like a graveyard for all different kinds of fish and other animals trapped in some violent maelstrom or flood water and then forcefully dumped and rapidly buried in sediment(otherwise there would be no fossils) in that particular location.

Hence the idea that they'll be able to reconstruct the living environment has to be highly suspect.
OZGuy
5 / 5 (8) Jun 21, 2012
No flood, no maelstrom just nature.

Imagine a decent sized lake accommodating a variety of fauna impacted with drought? The water evaporates until you have a high concentration of fauna in an ever shrinking body of water. If the drought persists long enough the lake eventually dries up totally and the fauna die trapped in the hardening mud.
roboferret
5 / 5 (10) Jun 21, 2012
A problem with your theory Kev, that would mean that marsupials were geographically isolated to Australia before the mythical flood, so how did they get to the middle east to board onto the ark? and back to Australia after? Why don't we find marsupials anywhere else?
Lino235
1 / 5 (5) Jun 21, 2012
OZGuy, the scenario you describe seems rather ordinary and commonplace, whereas the discovery seems extremely rare, more of the kind of thing you'd expect from some cataclysmic event, like some sort of meteorite or asteroid impact. Or, perhaps, some kind of giant-sized flooding event.
TheGhostofOtto1923
4.4 / 5 (22) Jun 21, 2012
forcefully dumped and rapidly buried in sediment(otherwise there would be no fossils) in that particular location.
-Except that the deposits are "estimated at between 100,000-200,000 years old", by reputable, rational scientists thoroughly familiar with examining physical evidence.

And so, if true, this would completely discredit your biblical flood myth... excuse me, not YOUR myth but the sumerian one which you all only appropriated and modified to suit some 1000 years after it was originally concocted.
http://en.wikiped...ood_myth

-As always kev thanks for the opportunity to present the TRUTH. Your assistance is invaluable.
so how did they get to the middle east to board onto the ark? and back to Australia after? Why don't we find marsupials anywhere else?
Arklets? Maybe ararat was only the first stop? What, you expect the bible to tell you EVERYTHING? I think you are allowed to fill in gaps and reinterpret. Because everybody does this you know.
PussyCat_Eyes
1 / 5 (6) Jun 21, 2012
Well, if the deaths occurred while all the continents were still tightly together, then yes, Oz could have had some floods that carried these animals downstream and deposited them nice and neat in an area, then covered them over with sediment.
Now, if you want to ASSUME that a GREAT flood occurred, it would've had to be over 500,000 years ago while the continents were together. The reason why is: rainwater finds the lowest level and a flood would follow the paths of streams, creeks, rivers, etc. and run down to the oceans. That's why we build dams, to conserve river water. With continents all separated, that is more likely to happen and no world-wide flood would remain very long. Sure, while the water is at highest level, animals and people could drown. But then the water drains away and a ship could conceivably be left high and dry on a mountain or hilltop. And don't forget, the animals went in, two by two...all others were out of luck.
PussyCat_Eyes
1 / 5 (7) Jun 21, 2012
With continents separated, there is no world-wide flood. So if God made a flood to punish mankind, He would've made sure that the waters would remain for a long time to get every last creature on the face of the one big land mass.
Would God do such a thing? I haven't got a clue. Maybe Kevin knows the answer.
TheGhostofOtto1923
4.5 / 5 (16) Jun 21, 2012
With continents separated, there is no world-wide flood. So if God made a flood to punish mankind, He would've made sure that the waters would remain for a long time to get every last creature on the face of the one big land mass.
Would God do such a thing? I haven't got a clue. Maybe Kevin knows the answer.
Says the stream-of-unconsciousness poster. As most everybody knows the bible says the flood lasted for 40 days and 40 nights, and by careful reckoning happened 6000 years ago when the continents were fully formed. Which renders your posts yet more pointless wasteful inconsiderate doo-doo.

I bet even kevin finds your crap amusing.
InterestedAmateur
5 / 5 (1) Jun 21, 2012
OZGuy, the scenario you describe seems rather ordinary and commonplace, whereas the discovery seems extremely rare, more of the kind of thing you'd expect from some cataclysmic event, like some sort of meteorite or asteroid impact. Or, perhaps, some kind of giant-sized flooding event.


Or maybe it's just the drying out the of the Australian continent due to changed rainfall patterns as evidenced in the geological record of Australia.

Live in Australia, live in Queensland. I've visted fossil beds(lived in Cunnamulla and Winton Qld)and I've seen no evidence that those fossil beds required an astronomical event to have formed. I don't know the site involved in this instance ( have a few suspicions that it's west of Eulo Qld) but find it doubtful that an hitherto unknown astronomical event created this fossil bed.
PussyCat_Eyes
1 / 5 (3) Jun 27, 2012
Nice that you live in Australia. I have distant cousins there who are also Scots-Irish but we've kinda lost touch with each other. Of course, flooding isn't required to trap animals. La Brea tar pits in California trapped a lot of animals but with a different substance.
Actually, a world-wide flood could've happened millions or billions of years ago while the earth was still in its formative stages and being bombarded with lots of asteroids and whatever else. Huge pieces slamming into oceans would cause huge tsunamis that would flood the land masses. There are some who reject that idea because they reject a biblical story of a great flood, and in rejecting the story, they also reject the possibility of a world-wide flood at any time in the history of the world. Some people just can't accept the possibilities and he/they are essentially brain-dead and terminal naysayers. Nothing new there.
roboferret
5 / 5 (3) Jun 27, 2012
The probability for Noah's flood is zero. KevinRTS, if you're not familiar with his contributions, is a young earth creationist and was alluding to the noachic flood.
http://www.creati...lood.htm
TheGhostofOtto1923
4.4 / 5 (14) Jun 27, 2012
Actually, a world-wide flood could've happened millions or billions of years ago while the earth was still in its formative stages and being bombarded with lots of asteroids and whatever else. Huge pieces slamming into oceans would cause huge tsunamis that would flood the land masses.
But then noah was not born yet -?
in rejecting the story, they also reject the possibility of a world-wide flood at any time in the history of the world.
No only when noah could have built his ark and floated for 40 days and 40 nights, and breathed the atmospheric O2 which had already been created by all those organisms and things. You carking dimwit. Quit vandalizing this site with your babble.