Author Topic: Fossil key to prehistoric mammal mystery  (Read 2362 times)


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Fossil key to prehistoric mammal mystery
« on: February 11, 2006, 01:54:12 PM »
One of Australia's leading scientists believes a fossil find in north-west Tasmania could hold the answer to what wiped out the last of the giant prehistoric mammals throughout the world.

Dr Tim Flannery has been in the state examining the bones of three giant wallabies, more than 30,000 years old.

The bones were handed to the Queen Victoria Museum in Launceston around five years ago.

Dr Flannery says the find is one of the most exciting of his career.

"In these remains may well be the very last of Australia's megafauna," he said.

"They may well be the most recent examples we have and as such they'll tell us or can potentially tell us what caused the extinction of these animals.

"So we're trying to answer the hypothesis was it climate or was it humans that killed off these animals and Tasmania's a perfect natural laboratory to try and answer that question."

Dr Flannery believes Launceston's museum is one of the best in Australia.

The zoologist and director of the South Australia museum is in Tasmania to talk about his book Astonishing Animals.

Dr Flannery and artist Peter Schouten chose Launceston to reveal the only make believe animal in the book, which has been the source of worldwide debate.

"Because the museum here is a museum of exceptional importance here in Australia," he said.

"You have a very rich exhibition program here and a good research program and wonderful collections, and Peter and I looked around to which museum we wanted to do this in and Launceston won hands down.

"You give more to people at your museum here than what people in Perth or Brisbane would be getting."

Dr Flannery will speak at the museum and art gallery at 11:00am AEDT on Saturday.
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