Macropod Fossils: Kangaroos & Wallabies | Darwin and Wallace: A Nature & Fossil Store

Macropod Fossils: Kangaroos & Wallabies


       Macropods (meaning "Large Foot") are perhaps the most identifiable marsupials on the planet, represented by the well-known kangaroos and wallabies, as well as the lesser known pademelons, tree-kangaroos, quokkas, and dorcopsises. The earliest known macropod fossils come from South Australia and date to the Oligocene epoch, approximately 26 million years ago (though it is not confirmed as to what species they belong.). Macropods would evolve from omnivorous, forest-dwelling quadrapeds into the grass land-hopping, partial bipeds that we are familiar with today. There are three known subfamilies that makeup the macropods: the Lagostrophines (represented by one species, the Banded Hare-Wallaby), the Macropodines (represented by every other living macropod), and the extinct Sthenurines (known as the Short-faced Kangaroos). Macropods today eat by browsing or grazing for vegetation, and have a complex digestive system that helps break down abrasive foods such as grasses. Hopping is the primary means of locomotion for Macropods, and they achieve this through use of springy tendons in their legs, as well as large, narrow feet.

Click on the images below to see the incredible fossils we offer in our Macropod selection: