Monday, 2 February 2015

Creature 125: Balbaroo fangaroo

What do you call a kangaroo with fangs?

Balbaroo fangaroo is exactly what its specific epithet suggests; a kangaroo with fangs. This extinct species commonly referred to simply as the Fangaroo.

Given the diversity of unique animals on the Australian continent the distinct lack of large terrestrial predators is curious. Wild dogs have become part of the ecosystem since the introduction of dingoes by indigenous Australians but carnivorous native Australian species are all snake sized or less with the exception of crocodiles in the northern rivers. The thylacines survived in Tasmania until the 1930s, but we will talk more about they in a later post. The Fangaroo is believed to be one of the prehistoric carnivores which has gone extinct in the last few 100, 000 years or so. The Fangaroo is known only from incomplete skull fragments. The skull of the animal seems to be about the size of a dog. It is basically a medium sized Kangaroo, with fangs. There were other larger carnivorous kangaroos, but this one has the coolest name by far.

Fangaroo has only been found at Riversleigh in North West Queensland.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Diprotodontia
Family: Macropodidae
Genus: Balbaroo
Species: Balbaroo fangaroo

Image Links:
Journal article: Cook, B.N. 2000: Cranial Remailns of a new species of Balbarine Kangaroo (Marsupialia: Maropodoidea) from the Oligo-Miocene Freshwater Limestone deposits of Riversleigh World Heritage Area, Northern Australia. Journal of Paleontology 74: 317-326

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