(TMU) – Massive kangaroos who roamed prehistoric Australia have been uncovered at an ancient fossil site in central Queensland.
The gigantic kangaroos, which towered at a height of over 8 ft (2.5 meters) and weighed upwards of 600 pounds (274 kg) were dug up at a paleontological site alongside the remains of over a dozen other oversized creatures, including car-sized lizards, huge wombats, crocodiles as long as buses, and a huge marsupial “lion” called the Thylaceo.
The enormous megafauna roamed Australia until about 40,000 and years ago, according to paleontologists at the Queensland Museum.
While it was once believed that the species were hunted by humans to extinction, researchers have determined that the huge creatures lived alongside Indigenous Australians for up to 20,000 years. Major changes to the environment such as climate change were the likely cause of the tropical giants being wiped out.
Dear god, this thing was huge.
Pleistocene Macropus sp. (giganteus/titan) takes the title from Procoptodon goliah for largest kangaroo.
— Aditya Srinath (@adi_fatalis) May 18, 2020
Dr. Scott Hocknull, a paleontologist who led the research project, told Australian news program Sunrise:
“It’s an amazing discovery – these animals were absolutely enormous.
“And the animals that ate these were even bigger. We had gigantic reptiles living at the same time as people.”
Imagine a kangaroo as tall as a bus! Giant roos are one of 13 extinct species discovered west of Mackay. How they lived and why they died is at the centre of a Queensland dig, published today in a prestigious international paper. https://t.co/VZ3A1cpmr5 @ErinEdwards7 #7NEWS pic.twitter.com/uQdF0QZXF3
— 7NEWS Brisbane (@7NewsBrisbane) May 18, 2020
However, extreme climate change drove the ancient creatures to extinction – a conclusion Hocknull reached after finding evidence of raging fires, degrading habitats, and major droughts that coincided with the extinction of the megafauna.
Megafauna are animals that weighed around or over 100 pounds (44 kg) and bear a close resemblance to related species that continue to roam the Earth today. More common megafauna species include the saber-toothed tiger and North America’s woolly mammoth. Nearly all megafauna are now extinct.
Australia is currently home to unusual endemic creatures such as the duck-billed, egg-laying platypus as well as potoroos, bandicoots, echidnas, wallabies, koalas and kangaroos.
During the prehistoric period, Australia was also the host to a range of unique megafauna such as gigantic marsupials (mammals with a pouch) including the sloth bear-like Palorchestes, super-large monitor lizards like the Megalania goanna, and rhinoceros-sized wombat-like marsupials such as the Diprotodon.
Australia also had gigantic, armored tortoises with clubbed tails, huge flightless birds, land-dwelling crocodiles, and giant constricting snakes.
Check out our new #3D collection of tropical #megafauna from North #QLD on #Sketchfab. See these giant creatures, interact with their #fossils & learn how we as #palaeontologists interpret their bones. Also check out our #dinosaurs #qldmuseum #MuseumAtHome https://t.co/rQFrPyHbfb
— Róchelle Lawrence (@PalaeoShell) May 19, 2020
Since 2008, the Queensland research team has yielded spectacular finds, including bones that once belonged to reptilian mega-predators and lizards or goannas that measured 22 feet. In total, at least 16 megafauna species have been discovered at the site.
Speaking to Daily Mail Australia, Hocknull explained:
“This is really exciting as it’s the first time we’ve been able to provide a picture of what tropical north looked like … The megafauna at South Walker Creek were uniquely tropical, dominated by huge reptilian carnivores and mega-herbivores that become extinct about 40,000 years ago – at least 20,000 years after humans arrived in Australia.
“The first people of Australia most likely saw these animals.”
The researcher added that it remains unclear to what extent humans had contact with them, especially since dangerous mammalian creatures like the pouched “lion” Thylacoleo stalked the territory seeking out prey.
— Scott Hocknull (@Aussiedinosaurs) May 18, 2020
The creatures’ extinction was a likely result not so much of human intervention – but of changing climate conditions. Hocknull continued:
“We find that their extinction is coincident with major climatic and environmental deterioration both locally and regionally, including increased bushfires, reduction in grasslands and loss of freshwater.”
“Together, these sustained changes were simply too much for the largest of Australia’s animals to cope with.”
With Australian society and wildlife still reeling from the massive bushfires that raged across the country earlier this year, Hocknull sees the research as offering important insights to how we view the impact of climate, fire, vegetation change, and water availability today. Hocknull said:
“Not since the time of the dinosaurs has Australia been home to such magnificent giants, and yet within a geological instant they were gone forever. There is a message in that for everyone.”
6 Year Old Finds Fossil In Family Garden That May be 488 Million Years Old
Children have a natural fascination with rocks, with many of us having spent some days as children standing awe-struck at our museums or science centers looking at dazzling arrays of stones, or learning about the different types that can be found out our local beaches, parks, or hiking trails.
However, none of us managed to make the sort of discovery that one young boy in the U.K. did.
Siddak Singh Jhamat, known as Sid, found a fossil in his garden that dates back millions of years.
Sid found the fossil in his backyard garden in the town of Walsall using a simple fossil-hunting kit he received as a gift, reports the BBC.
His father Vish Singh was then able to identify the fossil as a horn corral that dates back 251 to 488 million years with the help of a Facebook fossil group.
“I was just digging for worms and things like pottery and bricks and I just came across this rock which looked a bit like a horn, and thought it could be a tooth or a claw or a horn, but it was actually a piece of coral which is called horn coral,” Sid explained.
“I was really excited about what it really was.”
His father Vish added:
“We were surprised he found something so odd-shaped in the soil… he found a horn coral, and some smaller pieces next to it, then the next day he went digging again and found a congealed block of sand.
“In that there were loads of little molluscs and sea shells, and something called a crinoid, which is like a tentacle of a squid, so it’s quite a prehistoric thing.”
The father believes that the distinctive markings on the fossil make it a Rugosa coral, meaning it could be up to 488 million years old.
“The period that they existed from was between 500 and 251 million years ago, the Paleozoic Era,” Vish said.
“England at the time was part of Pangea, a landmass of continents. England was all underwater as well… that’s quite significant expanse of time.”
Researchers Find 50,000-Year-Old Frozen Body of Extinct Woolly Rhino in Siberia
Researchers in Siberia have stumbled upon the 50,000 year-old remains of a rare woolly rhinoceros that was trapped in permafrost.
The remains of the woolly rhino were excavated from the Abyisky district of the Sakha Republic. The rhino was first discovered by a local in Siberia named Alexei Savin, Business Insider reported.
Savvin stumbled upon the remarkable find walking near the Tirekhtyakh River in Yakutia, Siberia last August.
It’s worth noting that this woolly rhino was found close to the site where a previous baby woolly rhino named Sasha was discovered back in the year 2014. Woolly Rhinos were once believed to have been prevalent in Europe, Russia and northern Asia thousands upon thousands of years ago until they ended up extinct.
Paleontologist Albert Protopopov of the Academy of Sciences of the Sakha Republic unveiled that the baby woolly rhino would have been approximately three to four years old when it died presumably from drowning.
The only other woolly rhino thus far that has been discovered in these regions — Sasha — was dated to be from around 34,000 years ago. However, Protopopov suggests that the newly discovered body could be anywhere from 20,000 to 50,000 years old.
However, despite the body being there for so long according to Protopopov “among other things, part of the internal organs are preserved, which in the future will make it possible to study in more detail how the species ate and lived.”
Protopopov further added, “Earlier, not even the bone remains of individuals of this age were found, not to mention the preserved carcasses of animals. As a rule, these were either cubs or adults.”
A fellow paleontologist Valery Plotnikov from the Academy of Sciences further adds, “We have learned that woolly rhinoceroses were covered in very thick hair. Previously, we could judge this only from rock paintings discovered in France. Now, judging by the thick coat with the undercoat, we can conclude that the rhinoceroses were fully adapted to the cold climate very much from a young age.”
Isaac Newton’s Secret “Burnt” Notes Included Theory That Great Pyramids Predicted Apocalypse
Sir Isaac Newton, one of the most famous scientists of recorded history, left behind a large body of work that is still vital in our understanding of the world today. However, as with many public intellectuals, he also had plenty of work that was never shared with the public, even after his death.
Now, for the first time ever, some of these unpublished notes are being auctioned off, and these notes contain some of his most wild theories, and includes his thoughts on the occult, alchemy, and biblical apocalypse theory. Newton was known to dabble in the more esoteric realms of study, but very little written evidence remains about his specific thoughts on mystical topics.
Some of the remaining manuscript notes are currently being auctioned by Sotheby’s. The notes have been through a lot, and are obviously burned. The auctioneers claim that the notes were damaged in a fire that is believed to have been started by a candle that was accidentally toppled by Newton’s dog, Diamond.
According to the auction listing, “These notes are part of Newton’s astonishingly complex web of interlinking studies – natural philosophy, alchemy, theology – only parts of which he ever believed were appropriate for publication. It is not surprising that he did not publish on alchemy, since secrecy was a widely-held tenet of alchemical research, and Newton’s theological beliefs, if made public, would have cost him (at least) his career.”
The notes currently have a leading bid of £280,000, the equivalent of about $375,000.
In the notes, Newton speaks on some far-out topics that would surprise modern thinkers. For example, Newton’s notes include a theory that ancient Egypt’s Great Pyramid of Giza predicted the apocalypse. While it is unclear what logic he used to get to his conclusion, the theory began with his study of how the pyramids were designed according to an ancient Egyptian unit of measurement called the royal cubit.
While studying the pyramids and the cubit, Newton believed he developed an insight into sacred geometry, which somehow aligned with the apocalypse predictions in the bible.
“He was trying to find proof for his theory of gravitation, but in addition the ancient Egyptians were thought to have held the secrets of alchemy that have since been lost. Today, these seem disparate areas of study – but they didn’t seem that way to Newton in the 17th century,” Gabriel Heaton, Sotheby’s manuscript specialist, told The Guardian.
“It’s a wonderful confluence of bringing together Newton and these great objects from classical antiquity which have fascinated people for thousands of years. The papers take you remarkably quickly straight to the heart of a number of the deepest questions Newton was investigating,” Heaton added.
Interest in alchemy and mysticism was not unusual for serious scholars at the time, in fact, it was recognized as a legitimate field of scientific study.
“The idea of science being an alternative to religion is a modern set of thoughts. Newton would not have believed that his scientific work could undermine religious belief. He was not trying to disprove Christianity – this is a man who spent a long time trying to establish the likely time period for the biblical apocalypse. That’s why he was so interested in the pyramids,” Heaton said.