Diprotodon skeleton

Diprotodon is an extinct mammal genus and the largest known marsupial that ever lived. Its nearest relatives are the wombats. As this was it to order DIPROTODONTIA. The genus died in the course of extinctions at the end of the Pleistocene, along with numerous other large mammals from Australia.


Superficially, they resembled rhino without a horn. Claws on the feet indicate that they probably dug for roots. Features of the skull indicate a short trunk. The largest species Diprotodon optatum ( Riesenwombat ) reached a shoulder height of up to 2 m, a length of about 3 m and a weight of up to 2800 kg; Diprotodon minor was about one-third smaller.


Fossil remains of Diprotodons are in almost the whole of Australia, especially in the south of the continent, with the exception of Tasmania has been found. However, the way to King Iceland, which is close to Tasmania, occupied. The most famous finds of Diprotodons come from the salt marshes of the Callabonna salt lake in South Australia, where they were discovered along with thunder birds. Diprotodons lived in the Pleistocene 1.6 million years ago and died out about 45000-25000 years ago. In the late Pleistocene two types coexisted, but during Diprotodon optatum was found almost anywhere in Australia, seems to have been Diprotodon minor restricted to the south-eastern part.

Diet and lifestyle

Diprotodon was a herbivore that probably fed on leaves, twigs, bark and roots. Probably he supported himself primarily by rough and prickly plants. From well-preserved stomach contents of finds on Callabonnasee is known that Diprotodon salt herbs ate ( Salsola ) and other Amaranthaceae. The animals probably inhabited mainly open scrubland and savannah. Since several skeletons have been found together, it is believed that they lived in groups. There were marsupials, the pouch opened to the rear like in the Wombats. Among the predators of Diprotodon probably belonged Megalania.