Diprotodon optatum

Diprotodon optatum is the largest of the Australian megafauna.

This large plant-eating marsupial inhabited woodlands and grasslands, possibly staying close to water.  Closest relatives are the wombats and koala.  It appeared about 1.6 million years ago until extinction some 40,000 -20,000 years ago.

Since 2011, remains from several individuals of all ages, including juveniles have been systematically excavated from the Eulo sites.  This work is ongoing and annual digs continue to recover more bones and teeth and more individuals.

The first Diprotodon excavated from the Eulo sites was nicknamed ‘Kenny’ after the landholder who originally found the sites. Kenny is hippopotamus-sized about 3m long and 2m tall and weighing about 2,800 kg.  A life-sized bronze sculpture represents this specimen in Eulo. Kenny’s bones are well preserved and although not all of them are complete, has bones elements representing skull, mandible, cervical vertebra, scapular, ribs, pelvis, lower hind leg and feet. The lower jaw (mandible) is over 70cm long indicating that it is possibly the largest and also best preserved Diprotodon mandible known.

Many other Diprotodon individuals have been excavated and are currently being prepared.  Several skulls measuring up to 1m long, mandibles and bones representing almost the entire skeleton have been recovered to date.


Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Diprotodontia

Family: Diprotodontidae

Genus: Diprotodon

Species: Diprotodon optatum (Holotype species Owen, 1838)

DIPROTODON illustration for ENHM