Murrayglossus hacketti

Murrayglossus hacketti (formerly ‘Zaglossus‘) was a giant species of echidna that lived in Australia during the Pleistocene epoch. It could grow up to about a metre in length and weighed an estimated 30 kg, around the weight of a labrador.

Little is known of how M. hacketti lived. It has been suggested that a shortened tibia and relatively long femur helped to shift the animal’s centre of gravity backwards, increasing the mobility of the forelimbs. This could have made digging or tearing movements easier, and may have allowed an upright bipedal stance while feeding on ants or termites nests. This adaptation may also have aided in climbing trees.

The scanned bones you can view here are from the holotype specimen.

Skeletal element: Femur (left)
Specimen number: WAM 60.10.1
Significance of specimen: Holotype (part)
Geological age: Pleistocene
State/territory: Western Australia
Locality/site: Mammoth Cave, Margaret River

"Zaglossus hacketti A6 digital" by Alex Uchytel. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

View more bones from the
Murrayglossus hacketti holotype

Vertebrae: Atlas

Pectoral girdle: Clavicle

Pelvic girdle: Pelvis

Hindlimb: Tibia

Glauert, L. (1910). The Mammoth Cave. Records of the West Australian Museum 1, 930.

MurrayP. F. (1978)Late Cenozoic monotreme anteatersAustralian Zoologist 20, 2955.

Flannery, T. F., T. H. Rich, P. Vickers-Rich, T. Ziegler, E. G. Veatch & K. M. Helgen (2022). A review of monotreme (Monotremata) evolution, Alcheringa: An Australasian Journal of Palaeontology, 46:1, 3–20.
DOI: 10.1080/03115518.2022.2025900