The sthenurine kangaroo (Brown University)
The sthenurine kangaroo Brown University

Earlier this month, scientists claimed that the ancestor of the modern kangaroo was so big it was unable to hop.

The sthenurine kangaroo was more than 3m tall, looked like a rabbit, and weighed 24kg. But it is not the only strange creature to have roamed the regions that formed Australia in times past.

The continent is known for its strange species, which evolved in isolation from creatures on other continents. Below, IBTimes UK looks at some of the strangest extinct antipodean beasts.

Diprotodon optatum

The wombasaurs, diprotodon (WikiCommons)
The wombasaurs diprotodon. WikiCommons

Nicknamed the "wombasaurus", the creature was the largest marsupial of its time, and was four metres long, 1.7m wide, and weighed up to 2,800kg.

Scientists believe the creature had a small trunk, due to the shape of skull remains. It died out nearly 25,000 years ago.

Thylacoleo carnifex

thylacoleo carnifex skeleton in the Naracoorte caves, Australia (WikiCommons)
Thylacoleo carnifex skeleton in the Naracoorte caves, Australia. WikiCommons

This giant marsupial lion used to be found throughout Australia, and were even spotted by the country's first European settlers.

It grew to 1.5m long, and measured 75cm at the shoulder.

Weighing up to 160kg the creature had a single, extra-long shearing tooth in its short snout.

Dromornis stirtoni

The giant dromornis bird, which some experts believe was carnivorous. (WikiCommons)
The giant dromornis bird, which some experts believe was carnivorous. WikiCommons

This giant, flightless bird stood at almost 3m tall, and weighed up to 500kg, making it heavier than New Zealand's giant moa, and taller than the Elephant Bird of Madagascar.

Some experts believe that the giant birds, found in the Northern Territory, were carnivorous, due to the shape of their beaks and skulls, and were fast runner with powerful legs.


This ancestor of the crocodile had longer legs than its modern cousins, making it a formidable predator on land as well as in the water.

Growing to as long as three metres, the creature could not drag heavy prey into the water, and instead hunted smaller prey, dispatching them with small, razor sharp teeth.