sthenurus

The Strong tail, Sthenurus (1873)

Phylum : Chordata
Class : Mammalia
Infraclass : Marsupialia
Order : Diprotodontia
Family : Macropodidae
Genus : Sthenurus
Species : S. andersoni, S. atlas, S. gilli, S. maddocki, S. occidentalis, S. oreas, S. orientalis, S. pales, S. stirlingi, S. tindalei

  • Pleistocene (500 000 - 10 000 Ma)
  • 3 m long and 200 kg (size)
  • Southern Australia (map)

In anatomy they had a tail shorter but stronger than present species of kangaroo, and only one toe instead of three like the Red Kangaroo. At the end of the foot was a small hoof like nail suited for flat terrain; this toe is considered their fourth toe.

Their skeletal structure was very robust with powerful hind limbs, broad pelvis, longer arms and phalanges than modern species and a short neck. Their phalangel bones that make up their fingers may have been used to hold stems and twigs. These unique adaptations suited their feeding habits of browsing in the case of S. occidentalis, but other species were most likely grazers.

They possessed a short deep skull which was suited for eyes with stereoscopic vision; this allowed for better vision.

From evidence gathered at Cuddie Springs according to Judith Field and Richard Fullagerit (as cited in Macey 2003) it is known that Native Australians inhabited the same habitat as that of Sthenurus and various other extant and extinct species of animal. At this locality there seems to be a lack of any specific tools suitable for hunting. Instead there are tools used to cut meat off the bone, as there is blood residue left on the stone tools. Any material made of wood for hunting like the boomerang and spear has either not survived intact or was not used by the people of the time in this locality.