Scientists: Large Wombat-like Animal Lived in Australia 25 Million Years Ago
Scientists say a relative of modern wombats, about the size of a black bear, lived in central Australia around 25 million years ago.
Fossils of the creature's head and other bones were discovered in 1973, under Lake Pinpa, a dry, salt lake in South Australia state. The fossils were housed in the American Museum of Natural History in New York City and went unstudied for years.
Robin Beck, a professor at the University of Salford in Britain, led the research, which appeared in the publication Scientific Reports.
"It may have looked a bit wombat-like, but with a smaller head," Beck said. He said the animals also had longer tails and strong legs.
The researchers named the plant-eating mammal Mukupirna nambensis. The name means big bones in the local Aboriginal language. The shape of the creature's hands and forelimbs suggest it was a skillful and powerful digger, scientists say.
Mukupirna is one of the earliest-known large-bodied Australian marsupials, the report said. Its discovery helps explain the development of a marsupial group called vombatiforms. The group includes wombats as well as koalas.
Marsupials are mammals that give birth to less developed young that are carried and fed in a pouch on the mother's body. They were the common mammals found across Australia following the end of dinosaurs. Other mammals, like cats, dogs, elephants, apes, horses, developed more commonly on the other continents.
Mukupirna was not a direct ancestor of wombats but a close relative. At about 150 kilograms, it was about five times the size of modern wombats.
Beck said in a news release Mukupirna "probably lived in an open forest environment without grasses, and developed teeth that would have allowed it to feed on sedges, roots, and tubers that it could have dug up with its powerful front legs."
"It is a very unusual animal," he added. In fact, researchers have identified Mukupirna as its own animal family.
Mike Archer is a professor at the University of New South Wales, Australia. He helped write the report on the Mukupirna. He was also among the scientists that discovered the bones almost 50 years ago. He said the find was extremely lucky.
Normally, Lake Pinpa is covered with sands from nearby hills. "But because of rare environmental conditions" before the team arrived, he said, the fossil-rich surface was on full show.
Archer described the unexpected sight as "breathtaking."
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The house has breathtaking views from every room.
He made a brief, unexpected appearance at the office.
We'd toured the sights of Paris.
He could not work in these conditions any longer.
5.In fact, researchers have identified Mukupirna as its own animal family.
In fact 实际
In fact, those people have been promoted.
This is a common fallacy which has no basis in fact.
6.The group includes wombats as well as koalas.
as well as 和...一样；也
They visited some factories, hospitals as well as the school.
Whoever did him in removed a man who was brave as well as ruthless.
1973年，人们在南澳大利亚州干涸的Pinpa盐湖湖底发现了这种动物的头骨及其他骨骼的化石 。这些化石被收藏在纽约市的美国自然历史博物馆，多年来无人研究 。
英国索尔福德大学(University of Salford)教授罗宾·贝克(Robin Beck)领导了这项研究，研究结果发表在《科学报告》杂志上 。
贝克表示:“它看起来可能有点像袋熊，只是头小一些 。”他说，这些动物有更长的尾巴和强壮的双腿 。
研究人员将这种食草哺乳动物称为Mukupirna nambensis 。在当地土著语言中，这个名字的意为“大骨头” 。科学家表示，这种生物的手和前肢的形状表明它属于一种熟练而有力的挖掘类动物 。
报道称，Mukupirna是澳大利亚已知最早的大型袋类动物之一 。它的发现有助于解释一种被称为vombatiform的袋类动物群体的发展 。这个群体包括袋熊和考拉 。
袋类动物是一种哺乳动物，它们会诞下发育不完全的幼仔，由母亲身体上的育儿袋携带和喂养 。它们是在恐龙灭绝后在澳大利亚随处可见的常见哺乳类动物 。其他哺乳动物，如猫、狗、大象、猿、马，在其他大陆上更常见 。
Mukupirna不是袋熊的直系祖先，而系其近亲 。Mukupirna重约150公斤，是现代袋熊的五倍大 。
他补充说：“这是一种非常不寻常的动物” 。事实上，研究人员已经确认Mukupirna属于袋类动物家族 。
麦克·阿契尔（Mike Archer）是澳大利亚新南威尔士大学的教授 。他帮助撰写了关于Mukupirna的报告 。他也是近50年前发现这些骨骼的科学家之一 。他说，这次的发现非常走运 。
通常，Pinpa湖被附近山丘的沙子覆盖着 。“但由于罕见的环境条件”，他说，在团队到达之前，富含化石的地面已经充分展示了出来 。