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Temporal range: Late Oligocene–Pleistocene
Thylacoleo BW.jpg
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Infraclass: Marsupialia
Order: Diprotodontia
Suborder: Vombatiformes
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.[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.