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Temporal range: Pleistocene
Hulitherium tomasetti.jpg
Restoration of Hulitherium
Scientific classification

Flannery & Plane, 1986
H. tomasetti
Binomial name
Hulitherium tomasetti
Flannery & Plane, 1986

Hulitherium tomasetti (meaning "Huli beast", after the Huli people)[2] is an extinct zygomaturine marsupial from New Guinea during the Pleistocene. The species name honours Berard Tomasetti, a priest in Papua New Guinea (Berard is the correct spelling of his name), who brought the fossils to the attention of experts.[2][3]


Hulitherium was described on the basis of a nearly complete skull, several detached teeth, a fragment of lower jaw, atlas and cervical vertebrae, almost complete humerus and fragmentary bones of the hind limb. The skeleton suggests that the limbs were highly mobile relative to the other diprotodontids and that it was a browser.[2]


Hulitherium lived in montane rain forests and may have fed on bamboo. Perhaps a marsupial analogue of the giant panda. It was one of New Guinea's largest mammals with the height of 1 m (3 ft) and was close to 2 m (6 ft) long. And the estimated weight of 75-200 kilograms. Flannery and Plane (1986) suggested that because little had changed since the Late Pleistocene, humans may have been the major factor that led to its extinction.[2][4][5]

Other relatives[edit]

Murray (1992) concluded that Hulitherium is most closely related to the New Guinean Maokopia, and that these two together are most closely related to Kolopsis rotundus also from new Guinea. Black and Mackness(1999) suggested that the Hulitherium clade is more closely related to the clade comprising Zygomaturus plus another undescribed genus from Australia, than it is to Kolopsis.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ McBride, Malachy. "Welcome, Mbilai. That is your name now". Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e Long, J.; Archer, M.; Flannery, T.; Hand, S. (2002). Prehistoric Mammals of Australia and New Guinea: One Hundred Million Years of Evolution. The Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 91. ISBN 0-8018-7223-5. OCLC 49860159.
  3. ^ Flannery, T.F. (1986). "A new late Pleistocene diprotodontid (Marsupialia) from Pureni, Southern Highlands Province, Papua New Guinea" (PDF). BMR Journal of Australian Geology & Geophysic. 10: 65–76.
  4. ^ Richard T. Corlett: Megafaunal extinctions and their consequences in the tropical Indo-Pacific, Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, Singapore
  5. ^ Haberle, Simon G. (2007). "Prehistoric human impact on rainforest biodiversity in highland New Guinea". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. 362 (1478): 219–228. doi:10.1098/rstb.2006.1981. PMC 2311426. PMID 17255031.


  • David Norman. (2001): The Big Book Of Dinosaurs. Pg.133, Welcome Books.
  • Wildlife of Gondwana: Dinosaurs and Other Vertebrates from the Ancient Supercontinent (Life of the Past) by Pat Vickers Rich, Thomas Hewitt Rich, Francesco Coffa, and Steven Morton
  • Australia's Lost World: Prehistoric Animals of Riversleigh by Michael Archer, Suzanne J. Hand, and Henk Godthelp
  • Classification of Mammals by Malcolm C. McKenna and Susan K. Bell
  • Extinctions in Near Time: Causes, Contexts, and Consequences (Advances in Vertebrate Paleobiology) by Ross D.E. MacPhee and Hans-Dieter Sues