I don’t know about you, but large Australian mammals and marsupials have got a special place in my heart. However of all of the large beasties to have lurched around in Terra Nullus I am most besotted with animals that have long ago passed into the dusts of yesteryear such as the behemoth 200 kilo Procoptodon Goliah commonly known as the Giant Short-faced Kangaroo. This animal like a modern Kangaroo could prop itself up on its tail and reach a terrifying three metres tall when perched in that position.
It lived in the Pleistocene era and had a squashed snout and a short and deep skull with powerful jaws and short stubbly teeth gave away to scientists that the animal had a penchant for ruffage and leaves.
Like modern marsupials the Procoptodon Goliah gave birth to hairless young in a pouch and then nurtured them until grown. It was found everywhere in mainland Australia from the Murray-Darling basin in the south to the Eyre peninsula in the east and was adaptable to many different environments. Although it’s closest extant relative is still under debate and is thought to be closely related to the Banded Hare Wallaby rather than extant Kangaroo species.
Standing at an imposing 2 metres in height (3 metres when standing on its hauches) Procoptodon Goliah would have been quite a beast to behold somewhere in the outback.
For 30,000 years the Procoptodon Goliah population would have co-existed with Aboriginal tribes throughout Australia. In New South Wales, many people still recount stories of a large, long-armed, aggressive kangaroo that would attack people. Its extinction may have been due to climate shifts during the Pleistocene or due to hunting practices. Although it would have been a formidable and terrifying foe to tribespeople living in Australia. If you’re interested in extinct megafauna, you should also check out my post about the Haast’s Eagle, a terrorising relic of Aotearoa and this post about the extinct Tasmanian Tiger by Robert Horvat.