Australia's Vanished Beasts

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Palorchestes (genus)

This animal has been deemed "among the most unusual mammals ever to have lived." It bore massive forearms with impressive claws, which it may have used to rip bark from trees, as seen here. The palorchestids may have been the Australian equivalent of the giant ground sloths of the Western Hemisphere. Their remains have turned up only in eastern coastal Australia, which today has extensive wet and dry forests; indeed, this animal may have been confined to woodlands. The shape and positioning of the nasal bones in its skull suggest it had a trunk, though, again, experts can't be certain. The palorchestids have no modern analogues—when they went extinct, their line ended.

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