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Temporal range: Late Oligocene–Pleistocene
Thylacoleo BW.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Infraclass: Marsupialia
Order: Diprotodontia
Family: Thylacoleonidae
Gill, 1872

Thylacoleonidae is a family of extinct meat-eating marsupials from Australia, referred to as marsupial lions.[1] The best known is Thylacoleo carnifex, also called the marsupial lion.[2] The clade ranged from the Late Oligocene to the Pleistocene, with some species the size of a possum and others as large as a leopard. The discovery of a new small sized species indicates a higher ecological diversity than previously thought. As a whole, they were largely arboreal, in contrast to the mostly terrestrial dasyuromorphs (quolls only recently took the niches vacated by small thylacoleonids), monitor lizards and mekosuchines and probably less capable of flight than predatory birds.[3]


Four genera are currently accepted as belonging to this family:[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Werdelin, L (1988). "Circumventing a Constraint - the Case of Thylacoleo (Marsupialia, Thylacoleonidae)". Australian Journal of Zoology. 36 (5): 565. doi:10.1071/ZO9880565. Retrieved 2008-06-03. 
  2. ^ Wroe, Stephen. "Move Over Sabre-Tooth Tiger". Australian Museum. Archived from the original on 2003-03-10. Retrieved 2008-06-03. 
  3. ^ Gillespie, Anna K.; Archer, Michael; Hand, Suzanne J. (2016). "A tiny new marsupial lion (Marsupialia, Thylacoleonidae) from the early Miocene of Australia" (PDF). Palaeontologia Electronica. Palaeontological Association. 19 (2.26A): 1–26. Retrieved 29 August 2016. 
  4. ^ Haaramo, Mikko. "Diprotodontia - diprotodonts". Mikko's Phylogeny Archive. Retrieved 2007-12-29. 
  5. ^ Gough, Myles. "Kitten-sized extinct 'lion' named after David Attenborough". BBC News. British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 29 August 2016.