Thylacoleo was a genus of marsupial predators.
They lived in Australia,
between the late Pliocene and late Pleistocene epoch, perhaps between about 2 million
and 30,000 years ago.
Thylacoleo is believed to have the strongest bite (for its weight)
of animal mammalian species. It also had a number of other
remarkable features: a powerful tail that allowed it to stand
in a tripod-like position on its hind limbs (freeing its front
limbs for attacking prey), powerful front limbs with retractable
claws and semi-opposable thumbs. It is also thought that Thylacoleo
would have been able to climb trees, and perhaps even carry carcasses
up into the trees with it.
Thylacoleo was about 45 inches (115 centimeters) long, and
28 inches (70 centimeters) tall at the shoulder. A typical
adult probably weighed around 290 pounds (130 kilograms).
The first scientific description of Thylacoleo was made by
Sir Richard Owen in 1859.
Owen was also responsible
for choosing the name "Thylacoleo" which means "pouch lion".
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