New species of prehistoric marsupial lion discovered in the Australian outback

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New species of extinct marsupial lion unearthed in Australia.

Scientists reported on Thursday, at one of the most significant fossil deposits in the world in Australia, a new species of marsupial lion which has been extinct for at least 19 million years has been discovered. Yes this fearsome creature was a marsupial, like today’s kangaroos and koalas but unlike today’s descendent it was armed with a fearsome set of teeth.

Named in honour of palaeoartist Peter Schouten, Wakaleo schouteni, the new discovery, was a predator. This meat-eating animal 18-26 million years ago hunted in the Australian rainforests. Weighed approximately 23 kilograms, the new species is estimated to have been about the size of a dog.

Despite its name, the creature was not a real lion.

The mammal is just one-fifth the size of the largest marsupial lion known to science, the Thylacoleo carnifex, which died out 30,000 years ago. The Thylacoleo carnifex boasted massive front teeth that it used to snare its prey. The Wakaleo schouteni didn’t have nearly the same toothy “smile,” based on fossilized remains of its skull, teeth and an upper arm bone.

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