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Posted at 10:41 AM ET, 07/06/2011

Wombat weighing 6,600 pounds once roamed Australia


A northern Hairy-nosed Wombat. (Courtesy of EPA, State of Queensland, Australia)
They’re muscular, have powerful claws, chew with rodent-like teeth, and now it turns out they have a more than 6,000-pound ancestor. I don’t know much scarier a prehistoric animal can get.

When paleontologists found the first fully intact skeleton of a wombat on a cattle farm in northern Queensland this week, it showed that the marsupial, which has inhabited Australia for two million years, once weighed as much as 6,614 pounds. The animal would have stood about 6 feet 6 inches at the shoulder and was nearly 10 feet long, making it the largest marsupial that ever lived and the size of a large SUV.

Australia is home to other bizarre prehistoric animals, including a marsupial lion, a mammalian woodpecker, a tree-dwelling crocodile, a carnivorous kangaroo rat, and a tube-nosed bandicoot, but none so terrifying as the giant wombat.

Although I’ve never had one of these days:

Ever have one of those days when you feel like a 2.5 million-year-old, three-ton wombat?less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

I can share the sentiment of relief that this wombat doesn’t still walk the Earth:

50,000 yr old bones of a wombat as big as a Cadillac Escalade discovered in Australia. An herbivore, thank god http://t.co/mv8dDjIless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

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"Wombat on steroids" -- great band name + my worst nightmare. 'Giant wombat' skeleton found in Australia's Queensland http://t.co/PRpFlq4less than a minute ago via Tweet Button Favorite Retweet Reply

By  |  10:41 AM ET, 07/06/2011

 
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