Large ice age kangaroos had huge cheekbones for crushing bites

Large ice age kangaroos had huge cheekbones for crushing bites

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By Ruby Prosser Scully

The rapid-confronted kangaroo, Simosthenurus occidentalis -- an ingenious reconstruction.

An ingenious reconstruction of the rapid-confronted kangaroo

© N. Tamura

Extinct huge kangaroos had skulls built to mumble the extremely efficient crunch wished to eat refined meals, equivalent to branches and stems. This is able to presumably presumably also non-public allowed them to continue to exist long stretches of time when other meals used to be scarce.

Instant-confronted kangaroos lived in Australia for the length of the final ice age and are known for their rapid snouts, trim jaws and enamel, and heavily built skulls.

D. Rex Mitchell on the University of Contemporary England, Australia, created a digital mannequin of the cranium of 1 form of rapid-confronted kangaroo, the 120-kilogram Simosthenurus occidentalis, and analysed the outcomes of totally different biting behaviour.


He found that the mountainous kangaroo had enamel so shut to the jaw joints that, if its cheek muscles had been proportionate to the tree-kangaroo, a dwelling relative, then the potentialities of its jaw dislocating had been high.

“But what I realized used to be that this species has absurdly astronomical cheek bones,” says Mitchell. So when he scaled up the dimensions of the cheek muscles to fit the dimensions of the cheekbones, the digital mannequin confirmed that the hazards of the jaw dislocating dropped seriously.

Large pandas non-public similarly astronomical cheekbones that make stronger the same trim, stabilising muscles. This suggests the kangaroo may presumably presumably also non-public aged their premolars to crunch down on refined plant subject fabric, worthy love pandas eat bamboo, says Mitchell.

Then again, it is furthermore that you just would maybe presumably well presumably also imagine that the kangaroos held refined branches of their enamel and pulled them down to interrupt them.

The digital mannequin suggests the mountainous kangaroo may presumably presumably also non-public eaten more challenging vegetation than any currently dwelling Australian herbivores can, says Mitchell.

S. occidentalis is method to non-public survived except spherical forty two,000 years ago, which implies it presumably lived alongside humans for spherical 20,000 years.

Journal reference: PLOS ONE, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0221287

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