An extinct kangaroo climbing trees in a ‘treeless plain’ – a newspaper

PICTURE published by Murdoch University shows the preservation of the hands and feet of a newly identified kangaroo climbing a tree – AFP

PARIS: The most notable thing about the near-perfect fossils was not that they belonged to the 40-pound kangaroos that mysteriously evolved to climb trees, though that was remarkable enough.

What really stunned paleontologists was that the Nullarbor Plain in southwestern Australia, the site of the discovery, was a treeless shrub and was thought to be so even when the newly named Congruus kuhneri jumped – and apparently climbed – beyond its reach some 50,000 years ago. years.

The name derived from Latin says it all: “Null” for “none” and “arbor” for “tree”.

The barren area in the shape of a snail – 1,100 kilometers (700 miles) from head to tail – is even under the control of signposts that say in capital letters: “THE END OF A SIMILAR PLANE.”

“I remember looking at the bones on my arms and legs with my big, curved claws and saying to my colleague: ‘You probably won’t believe me, but I think it was climbing trees! “She recalled Natalie Warburton, a researcher at the Center for Terrestrial Ecosystems Affected by Climate at Murdoch University in Perth.

The “extremely unexpected” behavior of climbing a tree, described in detail Wednesday in the journal Royal Society Open Science, is certainly significant, she said.

With the exception of distant relatives in the tropical canopy of New Guinea, some sixty living species of kangaroos, wallabies and other marsupials from the macropodidae family – all descendants of opsum-like ancestors – have already evolved to make their way to Terra firma.

Published at dawn, March 25, 2021