A long time ago in an outback far, far away, giant kangaroos, some reaching over 500 lbs walked instead of hopped say scientists.
The giant marsupials were three to four times the size of kangaroos of today and by studying fossils of the animals scientists concluded that the giant creatures walked instead of hopped. They don’t know yet if the kangaroos had developed hopping first then evolved to walking because of their weight that would have prohibited it.
A giant bipedal kangaroo must have been a terrifying site and it’s theorized these goliaths were hunted down by early man. The animals would have made an easy target as men were more agile and maneuverable than the giant roos.
Studying the hind limbs and spines of the fossilized specimens the team of researchers concluded that the hopping option was out. Called Sthenurines, these ancient animals don’t have the equipment for hopping or moving on all fours. As noted in walking animals, the lower part of the tibia displays a flap of bone that covers the back of the joint thus providing the extra stabilizing factor for such locomotion. Today’s modern kangaroos do not possess this. The Sthenurines also had larger hip and knees as well as pelvis bones thus supporting the bipedal theory.
So according to the scientists, when humans arrived in Australia some 40,000 to 60,000 years ago, they encountered slow moving, extremely large animals and hunted them into non existence. All we have now are remnants via fossils but also more mysteries to solve.
This research opens the door to a look at the past that helps us uncover our past and that of the animal world. Who could imagine a kangaroo of such size? The largest kangaroos today can reach a mind boggling 8ft tall and weigh 200lbs so the size of these ancient kangaroos must have been a site to see. Just imagine a kangaroo at 15ft tall and weighing 500lbs. That would be enough to scare any man but also provide enough food for a family for weeks if preserved properly.
As more research is done the giant roos of the past will become more vivid.