Temporal range: Pleistocene
|An artist's illustration of Diprotodon optatum|
Diprotodon was a gigantic marsupial that lived in Australia during the Pleistocene era, about two million years ago. Diprotodon was a herbivorous giant wombat about the size of a rhino, making it the heaviest marsupial ever. It's claws may have been used to fend off predators just like modern wombats do, although this isn't really confirmed, and for now, size would have been its best defense.
Diprotodon herds would forage for roots and leaves in the barren Australian outback, the creature would probably have to eat about a quarter of it's body weight every day to sustain health.
The first recorded Diprotodon remains were discovered in a cave near Wellington, New South Wales, in the early 1830s by bushman George Ranken and Major Thomas Mitchell; the latter sent them to England for study by Sir Richard Owen.
Diprotodon was named by Owen (1838). It was assigned to the Diprotodontidae by McKenna and Bell (1997).
Diprotodon became extinct about 50 thousand years ago due to climate change in Australia, which already had a warm climate that continued heating up, Diprotodon could not adapt to the harsh heat and started dying off. It's now dwindling poulation was hunted to extinction by humans. Predators like Thylacoleo or Megalania soon also became extinct without their food source and the ongoing climate change.
In popular culture
- Although it is extinct, some people believe that the Diprotodon could be still alive today as a cryptid called the Bunyip (the Bunyip was a beast that Aboriginal tribes feared), but people do not have evidence for this creature being alive.
- It appears in Monsters We Met where it lacks its' massive nose. Its' unlikely that it would be so calm to humans, it may have acted like a rhinoceros or a hippopotamus, charging a possible threat like humans. An individual Diprotodon gets killed by a Megalania.
- It also appears in Zoo Tycoon 2: Extinct Animals.
- It also appears in Jurassic Park: Builder.
- It also appears in Monsters Resurrected as a prey item for Megalania.
- It also appears in Australia's First 4 Billion Years, drinking out of a waterhole.
- It also appears in Prehistoric Assassins: Claws and Jaws being killed by a Megalania.
- Diprotodon appears in the Cenozoic Biosphere of Jurassic World: The Game as a Rare Snow creature. Because it uses the Sarkastodon animation, it is innacurately portrayed as a grizzly bear-like carnivore/piscivore with large canine teeth, while in reality it was a herbivore with rodent-like incisors related to wombats and koalas.