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PLANET NEWS

Marsupial Lion Among New Australian Fossils

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The Australian outback holds a reputation as a wild, untamed place, but a new discovery shows it was once even more wild.

Dozens of animals, including a marsupial lion, eight new species of kangaroo, birds, and reptiles died in caves of the Nullarbor plain in south-central Australia. The caves then preserved the bones for millions of years.

Not only were so many species discovered, but the caves preserved the remains exceptionally well. No complete marsupial lion skeleton had ever been found before.

During the Ice Age, Australia's climate was much like it is today: hot and dry. It doesn't seem likely that climate changes caused these animals to go extinct. Instead, the researchers say data from the site suggests fires lit by humans changed the landscape of the area and forced many of the animals to extinction.


Source: Nature. Photo Credit: Clay Bryce, Western Australian Museum.

Related Links:
http://today.reuters.co.uk/news/CrisesArticle.aspx?storyId=SYD246616&WTmodLoc=World-R5-Alertnet-3
http://www.nature.com/nature

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Geologic History of West Virginia
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