Platypuses Go Mega


There’s no fauna like megafauna. Australian paleontologists have identified an extinct giant platypus that lived over 5 million years ago from a single fossil tooth. But wait, you say, platypi don’t have teeth, they have a duckbill. Well, that’s evolution: juvenile modern platypuses do have teeth, which they lose as they grow up. The newly identified fossil tooth is much larger and indicates the extinct platypus, Obdurodon tharalkooschild may have been more carnivorous. Hence some hyperbole in the Australian:

“Everything else would have thought twice about going for a swim with this platypus-zilla” (from one of the co-authors), and the headline, “Giant platypus a ‘fearsome’ predator”, which apparently has now been improved to “Ancient platypus was big and bitey.”

See also Science Daily for the press release and picture.

Picture Source: Reconstruction / Illustration by Peter Schouten.


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