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US NewsExtinct short-faced kangaroo which lived in Ice Age Australia had a head like a PANDA, scientists say after they discover it had a big, tough skull developed for eating wood

07:15  13 september  2019
07:15  13 september  2019 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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An extinct kangaroo from Ice Age Australia looked very dissimilar to its modern-day peers, according to scientists . Researchers at the University of Arkansas believe the 42,000 year-old animal developed a wider, shorter skull in order to withstanding the forces of biting wood , which it regularly consumed

Extinct short - faced kangaroo which lived in Ice Age Australia had a head like a PANDA , scientists say after Bottlenose Researchers at the University of Arkansas believe the 42,000 year-old animal developed a wider, shorter skull in order to withstanding the forces of biting wood , which.

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An extinct kangaroo from Ice Age Australia looked very dissimilar to its modern-day peers, according to scientists.

Researchers at the University of Arkansas believe the 42,000 year-old animal developed a wider, shorter skull in order to withstanding the forces of biting wood, which it regularly consumed as part of its diet.

This is quite different to the diet and appearance of today's Australian kangaroos - and much more like giant pandas, which crush bamboo for consumption.

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Extinct short - faced kangaroo which lived in Ice Age Australia had a head like a PANDA , scientists say after they discover it had a big , tough skull developed for eating wood . Researchers at the University of Arkansas believe the animal developed the

Extinct short - faced kangaroo which lived in Ice Age Australia had a head like a PANDA , scientists say after they discover it had a big They had flexible heads and four pairs of legs. However, this kangaroo also differed from all species it was compared against in having a deeper

Extinct short-faced kangaroo which lived in Ice Age Australia had a head like a PANDA, scientists say after they discover it had a big, tough skull developed for eating wood Researchers at the University of Arkansas believe the 42,000 year-old animal developed a wider, shorter skull in order to withstanding the forces of biting wood

The new findings, published in PLOS ONE, support the hypothesis that they were capable of persisting on tough, poor-quality vegetation, when more desirable foods were scarce because of droughts or glacial periods.

HOW WERE EXTINCT SKULLS STUDIED?

Rex Mitchell, post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Arkansas, used computed tomography scans to create three-dimensional models of the skull of Simosthenurus occidentalis, a well-represented species of short-faced kangaroo that persisted until about 42,000 years ago.

Working with the models, Mitchell performed bite simulations. The resulting forces at the jaw joints and biting teeth were measured, as well as stress experienced across the skull during biting.

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Extinct short-faced kangaroo which lived in Ice Age Australia had a head like a PANDA, scientists say after they discover it had a big, tough skull developed for eating wood
Extinct short-faced kangaroo which lived in Ice Age Australia had a head like a PANDA, scientists say after they discover it had a big, tough skull developed for eating wood
Extinct short-faced kangaroo which lived in Ice Age Australia had a head like a PANDA, scientists say after they discover it had a big, tough skull developed for eating wood
Extinct short-faced kangaroo which lived in Ice Age Australia had a head like a PANDA, scientists say after they discover it had a big, tough skull developed for eating wood
Extinct short-faced kangaroo which lived in Ice Age Australia had a head like a PANDA, scientists say after they discover it had a big, tough skull developed for eating wood
Extinct short-faced kangaroo which lived in Ice Age Australia had a head like a PANDA, scientists say after they discover it had a big, tough skull developed for eating wood
Extinct short-faced kangaroo which lived in Ice Age Australia had a head like a PANDA, scientists say after they discover it had a big, tough skull developed for eating wood
Extinct short-faced kangaroo which lived in Ice Age Australia had a head like a PANDA, scientists say after they discover it had a big, tough skull developed for eating wood
Extinct short-faced kangaroo which lived in Ice Age Australia had a head like a PANDA, scientists say after they discover it had a big, tough skull developed for eating wood
Extinct short-faced kangaroo which lived in Ice Age Australia had a head like a PANDA, scientists say after they discover it had a big, tough skull developed for eating wood
Extinct short-faced kangaroo which lived in Ice Age Australia had a head like a PANDA, scientists say after they discover it had a big, tough skull developed for eating wood
Extinct short-faced kangaroo which lived in Ice Age Australia had a head like a PANDA, scientists say after they discover it had a big, tough skull developed for eating wood
Extinct short-faced kangaroo which lived in Ice Age Australia had a head like a PANDA, scientists say after they discover it had a big, tough skull developed for eating wood
Extinct short-faced kangaroo which lived in Ice Age Australia had a head like a PANDA, scientists say after they discover it had a big, tough skull developed for eating wood
Extinct short-faced kangaroo which lived in Ice Age Australia had a head like a PANDA, scientists say after they discover it had a big, tough skull developed for eating wood
Extinct short-faced kangaroo which lived in Ice Age Australia had a head like a PANDA, scientists say after they discover it had a big, tough skull developed for eating wood
Extinct short-faced kangaroo which lived in Ice Age Australia had a head like a PANDA, scientists say after they discover it had a big, tough skull developed for eating wood

He compared the findings from the short-faced kangaroo to those obtained from models of the koala, a species alive today with the most similar skull shape.

'The skull of the extinct kangaroo studied here differs from those of today's kangaroos in many of the ways a giant panda's skull differs from other bears,' said Rex Mitchell, post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Arkansas.

'So it seems that the strange skull of this kangaroo was, in a functional sense, less like a modern-day kangaroo's and more like a giant panda's.'

Extinct short-faced kangaroo which lived in Ice Age Australia had a head like a PANDA, scientists say after they discover it had a big, tough skull developed for eating wood © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Ice Age kangaroos looked quite different to the diet and appearance of today's Australian breed - and much more like giant pandas, which crush bamboo for consumption

Mitchell used computed tomography scans to create three-dimensional models of the skull of Simosthenurus occidentalis.

Working with the models, Mitchell performed bite simulations. The resulting forces at the jaw joints and biting teeth were measured, as well as stress experienced across the skull during biting.

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He compared the findings from the short-faced kangaroo to those obtained from models of the koala, a species alive today with the most similar skull shape.

These comparisons demonstrated the importance of the extinct kangaroo's bony, heavily reinforced skull features in producing and withstanding strong forces during biting.

Extinct short-faced kangaroo which lived in Ice Age Australia had a head like a PANDA, scientists say after they discover it had a big, tough skull developed for eating wood © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Rex Mitchell, post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Arkansas, used computed tomography scans to create three-dimensional models of the skull of Simosthenurus occidentalis

'Compared to the kangaroos of today, the extinct, short-faced kangaroos of ice age Australia would be a strange sight to behold,' Mitchell said.

They included the largest kangaroo species ever discovered, with some species estimated to weigh more than 400 pounds.

The bodies of these kangaroos were much more robust than those of today - which top out at about 150 pounds - with long muscular arms and large heads shaped like a koala's.

Some species of these extinct kangaroos had massive skulls, with enormous cheek bones and wide foreheads.

'All this bone would have taken a lot of energy to produce, so it makes sense that such robust skulls wouldn't have evolved unless they really needed to bite hard into at least some more resistant foods that were important in their diets,' he said.

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