Lemdubuoryctes aruensis

Described in 2016 by Kear, Aplin and Westerman, this small, primitive bandicoot species is known from a small number of fossils from a single locality on an island in eastern Indonesia. Its ecology is unknown.

Despite living relatively recently (28–9 ka), L. aruensis appears closest related to stem peramelemorphians. This means that the species evolved from a group of bandicoots distantly related to modern bandicoots and bilbies, of which L. aruensis seems to be the only member known to science. Unknown lineages such as this are called ‘ghost lineages’.

Skeletal element: partial left maxilla
Specimen number: WAM 14.9.6
Significance of specimen: Holotype
Geological age: Late Pleistocene/Holocene
State/territory: Aru Islands, Eastern Indonesia
Locality/site: Liang Lemdubu Cave

Holotype specimen of Lemdubuoryctes aruensis, a partial left maxilla. Photo by J. D. van Zoelen 2021.

Kear, B., Aplin, K., and Westerman, M. (2016) Bandicoot fossils and DNA elucidate lineage antiquity amongst xeric-adapted Australasian marsupials. Scientific Reports 6, 37537.
DOI: 10.1038/srep37537