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General => Science => Topic started by: Recusant on December 11, 2017, 06:34:15 PM

Title: Ancestor of the Drop Bear Found?
Post by: Recusant on December 11, 2017, 06:34:15 PM
For those who're unfamiliar with the dreaded Drop Bear some vital information:

"Animal Species: Drop Bear" | Australian Museum (https://australianmuseum.net.au/drop-bear)

Quote
The Drop Bear, Thylarctos plummetus, is a large, arboreal, predatory marsupial related to the Koala.

Identification
Around the size of a leopard or very large dog with coarse orange fur with some darker mottled patterning (as seen in most Koalas). It is a heavily built animal with powerful forearms for climbing and holding on to prey. It lacks canines, using broad powerful premolars as biting tools instead.

Size range
120kg, 130cm long, 90 cm at the shoulder.

Distribution
Drop Bears can be found in the densely forested regions of the Great Dividing Range in South-eastern Australia. However there are also some reports of them from South-east South Australia, Mount Lofty Ranges and Kangaroo Island.

[. . .]

Danger to humans and first aid
Bush walkers have been known to be 'dropped on' by drop bears, resulting in injury including mainly lacerations and occasionally bites. Most attacks are considered accidental and there are no reports of incidents being fatal.

There are some suggested folk remedies that are said to act as a repellent to Drop Bears, these include having forks in the hair or Vegemite or toothpaste spread behind the ears. There is no evidence to suggest that any such repellents work.

Apparently fossils of the ancestral form have been discovered.  ;)

"Dog-Sized Marsupial Lion Once Lived in Australia: Wakaleo schouteni (http://www.sci-news.com/paleontology/wakaleo-schouteni-05511.html)

Quote
(http://cdn.sci-news.com/images/2017/12/image_5511-Wakaleo-schouteni.jpg)
Reconstruction of Wakaleo schouteni challenging the thylacinid Nimbacinus dicksoni
over a kangaroo carcass in the late Oligocene forest at Riversleigh, Australia.
Image credit: Peter Schouten.



The newly-discovered marsupial lion, named Wakaleo schouteni, was the size of a dog and weighed around 23 kg.

The species was about a 1/5th of the weight of the largest and last surviving marsupial lion, Thylacoleo carnifex (http://www.sci-news.com/paleontology/marsupial-lion-thylacoleo-carnifex-hunting-style-04116.html), that weighed in at 130 kg and which has been extinct for 30,000 years.

“The identification of this species has brought to light a level of marsupial lion diversity that was quite unexpected and suggest even deeper origins for the family Thylacoleonidae,” said Dr. Anna Gillespie, a paleontologist at the University of New South Wales, Australia.

The fossilized remains of Wakaleo schouteni — a near-complete skull, teeth, and humerus (upper arm bone) — were found in the Riversleigh World Heritage Area of remote north-western Queensland.

“With the new find, we believe that two different species of marsupial lions were present in the late Oligocene at least 25 million years ago,” the paleontologists said.

[Continues . . . (http://www.sci-news.com/paleontology/wakaleo-schouteni-05511.html)]

: show
First Dog on the Moon (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/dec/08/is-the-marsupial-lion-an-early-relative-of-the-drop-bear-they-eat-tourists-and-are-not-made-up?CMP=soc_568)
(https://media.guim.co.uk/7c7b3eab0c4dc465825a652a0a70174479048dc8/0_0_3508_5735/1223.jpg)
"Anna Gillespie's" t-shirt reads "Marsupials Rule"
Title: Re: Ancestor of the Drop Bear Found?
Post by: Dave on December 11, 2017, 08:04:50 PM
Another strange and potentially dangerous (to humans)  Ozzie beastie then - one Bluenose omitted from his list.

I have to admit that I had not thought much about Australian fossilary but that seems interesting. Thanks, Recusant.
Title: Re: Ancestor of the Drop Bear Found?
Post by: Icarus on December 11, 2017, 11:11:55 PM
Vegemite behind the ears would probably be a useful deterrent because it is awful stuff that Drop Bears do not want to get into.   :panic:
Title: Re: Ancestor of the Drop Bear Found?
Post by: Recusant on December 11, 2017, 11:59:24 PM
Note how in the artist's impression of Wakaleo schouteni, only one foot has actually made contact with the ground. Clearly it has just dropped from its arboreal perch to the dismay of the thylacinid.  :thoughtful:
Title: Re: Ancestor of the Drop Bear Found?
Post by: Sandra Craft on December 12, 2017, 01:39:03 AM
Vegemite behind the ears would probably be a useful deterrent because it is awful stuff that Drop Bears do not want to get into.   :panic:

I don't know -- there's no accounting for tastes, and with a fork right there as well that seems to me to be egging the drop bear on.