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Fossil hunters uncover ancient Australian wombat

Researchers in Australia have uncovered evidence of a previously unknown ancient marsupial which roamed the continent some 25 million years ago.

Described as a cross between a wombat and a marsupial lion, the beast - named Mukupirna fortidentata - is thought to have weighed up to 50kg (110lb).

Skull, bone and jaw fragments from the animal were recovered from a site near Alice Springs in central Australia.

Researchers say the find sheds light on how modern-day marsupials evolved.

Working over 2,000 hours, a team from Flinders University recovered 35 different Mukupirna specimens from hard limestone. These helped paint a picture of what the animal would have been like.

It is thought to have shared a common ancestor with modern-day wombats, and also looked a bit like a marsupial lion known as Thylacoleo carnifex, researcher Arthur Crichton said.


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