Australia's extinct marsupial, Cohen's Thingodonta Click to enlarge image
Cohen's Thingodonta, Yalkaparidon coheni. Thingodonta is one of the strangest fossil marsupials known. We know it lived in the rainforest. The shape of its teeth has led some people to suggest that it ate caterpillars or perhaps eggs. Image: Dr Anne Musser
© Australian Museum

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    coheni
    Genus
    Yalkaparidon
  • Size Range
    Length (head and body): about 20cm

Lived

23-16 million years ago, early Miocene.

Description

Thingodonta is one of the strangest fossil marsupials known. It is hard to tell how it lived or what it ate because it is so different from any other marsupial. We can't even look to its relatives for clues about its lifestyle because nobody knows what its closest relatives are. We do know it lived in the rainforest. The shape of its teeth has led some people to suggest that it ate caterpillars or perhaps eggs.

Fossils

Fossils of Thingodonta have been found at Riversleigh in north-western Queensland. They include a skull, a couple of jaws and many individual teeth.

Did you know?

Thingodonta belongs to the only completely extinct order of Australian marsupials, the Order Yalkaparidontia.