Paleontology

15 Million Year old Fossils Found in Australia Scientists Uncover Nimbadon Remains



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Scientists have recently made a remarkable discovery down under when they discovered a cluster of 15 million year old fossils. The find, located in the Riversleigh World Heritage Area in Queensland, was an unmatched one and could lead to more exciting discoveries.

The report documenting the find was filed in the of Vertebrate Paleontology, and published in July 2010.

The 15 million year old fossils were found in the Australian cave by a team from the University of New South Wales. As the team was exploring, they made an unprecedented discovery, and the prehistoric remains they unearthed were in incredible condition.

The fossils are described by scientists examining the remains as being "exceptionally well-preserved".

This find includes 26 skulls from a wombat-like marsupial called Nimbadon lavarackorum. The Nimbadon lavackorum is described as a sheep-like creature that possessed giant claws. These remnants, which possess many similar attributes to modern day kangaroos and koala bears, could really unlock many of the mysteries of prehistoric times. The claws, for instance, seem to possess similar attributes as the modern day koala bear, and the pouches are kangaroo-like.

What is also fascinating is that some of the remains included the remains of babies still in their mother's pouches which can unlock much information of how the prehistoric marsupials developed. Through the examination of all 26 skulls, scientists can see the different stages of development in each remain. What so far has been gleaned is that these prehistoric babies developed very similarly to today's marsupials.

Mike Archer, a paleontologist who helped pen the recent article, states "It's extraordinarily exciting for us" and "It's given us a window into the past of Australia that we simply didn't even have a pigeonhole into before. It's an extra insight into some of the strangest animals you could possibly imagine." (Associated Press via CBS News).

Experts are hoping to learn a lot more about the Nimbadon. These pristine remains can help possibly reveal not only their physical structure, but their physiological traits as well. For instance this latest find includes a cluster of remains in one area, this suggests the Nimbadon may have traveled in herds, much like kangaroos do. The way the remains were positioned also brought upon some theories of what led this group to perish.

Researchers and experts have been exploring this cave since 1990 and the first Nimbadon skull was found in 1993.

Sources:

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Petersburg Times

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