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Australia's Vanished Beasts

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Marsupial lion

Marsupial Lion
Thylacoleo carnifex
"Few extinct mammals have aroused so much curiosity, so much conjecture as to their way of life and their relationship to other forms as the enigmatic marsupial lion," the paleontologist Rod Wells has written. What Wells and other experts know about this creature they have gleaned from fossil bones, including the complete skeleton discovered in 2002 and featured in "Bone Diggers." Despite its name, T. carnifex was no lion. It raised its young in a pouch, like all marsupials, and its anatomy suggests it was built for dropping onto prey animals from trees rather than chasing them down. Once it grabbed hold of a victim, with help from its large, clawed thumb, the marsupial lion may have dragged it into a tree (as shown here) to devour it.


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