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Diprotodon (Giant Wombat)


diprotodon giant wombat

Diprotodon (Nobu Tamura)


Diprotodon (Greek for "two forward teeth"); pronounced die-PRO-toe-don; also known as the Giant Wombat


Plains of Australia

Historical Period:

Pleistocene-Modern (2 million-10,000 years ago)

Size and Weight:

About 12 feet long and two tons



Distinguishing Characteristics:

Large size; rear-facing pouch


About Diprotodon (Giant Wombat):

Yes, even wombats grew to dinosaur-like sizes during the Pleistocene epoch. The enormous Diprotodon (also known as the Giant Wombat) weighed as much as a large rhinoceros, and it looked a bit like one from far away, especially if you weren't wearing your glasses. The two-ton Diprotodon was the largest marsupial (pouched mammal) ever to walk the face of the earth, and oddly enough, it seems to have subsisted on one specific plant, the Australian "salt bush." All things considered, it may have been the most comically oversized mammal after Castoroides, better known as the Giant Beaver.

Diprotodon lived large, but it died large, too: the bones of this prehistoric megafauna mammal have been discovered by the thousands, all over the Australian continent. Some individuals died when they crashed through the surface of salt-encrusted lakes, and others were hunted by early humans (who arrived on Australia about 40,000 years ago). Since Pleistocene Australia featured few natural predators, it's logical to conclude that Diprotodon was doomed to extinction by armed, hungry Homo sapiens, against which this gentle beast had no natural defenses.


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