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Temporal range: Pleistocene
Zygomaturus trilobus.jpg
Skeletal mount of Zygomaturus trilobus at the Melbourne Museum
Scientific classification

Macleay, 1857

Zygomaturus diahotensis
Zygomaturus gilli
Zygomaturus keanei
Zygomaturus keani
Zygomaturus tasmanicus
Zygomaturus trilobus

Zygomaturus[1] is an extinct genus of giant marsupial from Australia during the Pleistocene.


Restoration of Z. trilobus
Z. trilobus jaw

It was a large animal, weighing 500 kg (1100 lbs) or more and standing about 1.5 m (4.9 ft) tall and 2.5 m (8.2 ft) long.[2] Much like a hippopotamus, the animal had raised nostrils. Like the wombat, it also had a backwards-facing pouch, which protected its infants (referred to as "joeys") from drowning while the animal was foraging in swamps.


It had a heavy body and thick legs and is believed to be similar to the modern pygmy hippopotamus in both size and build.[3] The genus moved on all fours.[3] It lived in the wet coastal margins of Australia and became extinct about 45,000 years ago.[3] Zygomaturus also is believed to have expanded its range toward the interior of the continent along the waterways.[3] It is believed to have lived solitarily or possibly in small herds. Zygomaturus probably ate reeds and sedges by shovelling them up in clumps with its lower incisor teeth.[3]

Related genera[edit]



  1. ^ Literal translation "Big cheekbones"
  2. ^ http://www.megafauna.com.au/view/megafauna/zygomaturus-trilobus/
  3. ^ a b c d e Ellis, Richard (2004). No Turning Back: The Life and Death of Animal Species. New York: Harper Perennial. p. 101. ISBN 0-06-055804-0.

Further reading[edit]

  • 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
  • Marsupial Nutrition by Ian D. Hume
  • Long, J.; Archer, M.; Flannery, T.; Hand, S. (2002). Prehistoric Mammals of Australia and New Guinea: One Hundred Million Years of Evolution. University of New South Wales Press. pp. 98–99. ISBN 978-0-8018-7223-5. OCLC 49860159.
  • Life of Marsupials by Hugh Tyndale-Biscoe
  • Magnificent Mihirungs: The Colossal Flightless Birds of the Australian Dreamtime (Life of the Past) by Peter F. Murray, Patricia Vickers-Rich, and Pat Vickers Rich
  • Classification of Mammals by Malcolm C. McKenna and Susan K. Bell
  • Australia's Lost World: Prehistoric Animals of Riversleigh by Michael Archer, Suzanne J. Hand, and Henk Godthelp
  • World Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs & Prehistoric Creatures: The Ultimate Visual Reference To 1000 Dinosaurs And Prehistoric Creatures Of Land, Air And Sea ... And Cretaceous Eras (World Encyclopedia) by Dougal Dixon
  • The Illustrated Encyclopedia Of Prehistoric Life by Dougal Dixon

External links[edit]