Source: ABC

Palaeontologists think climate may have played a bigger role than they earlier thought in a giant marsupial becoming extinct.

They have been working to recover a diprotodon skeleton in the mid-north of South Australia.

It is hoped there will be a complete fossilised skeleton once the work has been completed on a sheep station in the Burra region.

The giant wombat-like creature is believed to have died about 50,000 years ago.

Rod Wells from the South Australian Museum said the sediment around the bones indicated the climate was very dry and windy at the time the creature died.

“That suggests they were sort of living in rather harsh conditions and one starts to wonder whether climate may be playing a fairly important role in their extinction, not necessarily the sole role but a more important role than has been given credit to in the past,” he said.

Associate Professor Wells says about 500 hours of painstaking work had already been done, but the retrieval effort was only about half finished and more volunteers to help would be welcome.

“You just walk around the museum and see these beautiful displays and you know it’s an assumption that they just sort of dug it out of the ground and glued it together, but there’s a lot more work that goes into it than that,” he said.

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