Giant koala

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Giant koala
Temporal range: Pleistocene
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Infraclass: Marsupialia
Order: Diprotodontia
Family: Phascolarctidae
Genus: Phascolarctos
Species: P. stirtoni
Binomial name
Phascolarctos stirtoni
Bartholomai, 1968

The giant koala (Phascolarctos stirtoni) is an extinct arboreal marsupial which existed in Australia during the Pleistocene epoch. Phascolarctos stirtoni was about one third larger than the contemporary koala, P. cinereus,[1] and has had an estimated weight of 29 lb (13 kg), which is the same weight as a large contemporary male koala.[2] Although considered a part of the Australian megafauna, its body mass excludes it from most formal definitions of megafauna. It is best described as a more robust koala, rather than a "giant"; whereas a number of Australian megafauna, such as Diprotodon and Procoptodon goliah, were unambiguously giants.

The two koala species co-existed during the Pleistocene, occupying the same arboreal niche.[1] The reason for the extinction of the larger of the two about 50,000 years ago is unknown.


  1. ^ a b "Parks South Australia: Naracoorte Caves website". Archived from the original on 2007-09-26. Retrieved 2007-10-27. 
  2. ^ Prideaux, Gavin J.; Roberts, Richard G.; Megirian, Dirk; Westaway, Kira E.; Hellstrom, John C.; Olley, Jon M. (2007). "Mammalian responses to Pleistocene climate change in southeastern Australia" (PDF). Geology 35: 33. doi:10.1130/G23070A.1.