Did you know the outback used to be a land of rich vegetations with extensive forestry and pristine lakes feeding off a labyrinth of rivers that supported mega-marsupials, birds and reptilian creatures that are now extinct?
Recent discoveries found that up to about 50,000 years ago Australia was home to giant nine foot kangaroos and wombats the size of rhinos. Scientists found these unusual remains in nearly perfect condition deep in the caves of the arid Nullarbor desert. The combination of the remote location and the natural shelter a cave provides kept these fossils safe from the potential damages of rain and wind.
Many of the species discovered were nocturnal and it’s assumed that most of them fell down into the caves in the night. The caves of the Nullarbor are unique in that they are surface caves, that descend straight down from the flatlands and these deep, dark holes are difficult to identify in the dark when combined with the desert’s extensive flat landscape.
Many refer to this time period as the age of megafauna. A time when Australia was free from the harsh conditions of the ice age and provided a warm and suitable habitat for these creatures. The team of scientists have successfully added 69 new species to the list of exotic animals and hope to find more. The discoveries range from monster kangaroos to enormous marsupial lions the size of small SUV’s.
The extinction of the extraordinary creatures was a result of two things; natural climate changes and human beings. The arrival of humans about 50,000 years ago brought on an onslaught of killings, some due to hunting but most were killed off by the free range fires deliberately set to encourage regrowth and farming.
So, with the change of the landscape and the altering climate, combined with a new predator (humans) these mystical beasts slowly died off and left this planet forever leaving us with nothing more than bones and fuel for the imagination.