Palorchestes azael

Palorchestes azael is one of the iconic members of the Australian extinct Pleistocene megafauna. Its unusual morphology, coupled with its uncommon presence in most fossil assemblages, has resulted in broad speculations about its appearance and ecological niche. It was originally described as a giant kangaroo by Richard Owen in 1873 and later as a ‘marsupial tapir’ with a proboscis, due to its long snout and retracted nasal bones. Recent reconstructions have chosen to exclude the proboscis and instead feature prehensile lips and a lengthy, extendable tongue.

Skeletal element: mandible
Specimen number: SAMA P16583
Geological age: Pleistocene
State/territory: Victoria Fossil Cave, Naracoorte Caves
Locality/site: South Austraia

Mandible of Palorchestes azael SAMA P16583
Mandible of Palorchestes azael SAMA P16583

Richards, H. L., Wells, R. T., Evans, A. R., Fitzgerald, E. M., & Adams, J. W. (2019). The extraordinary osteology and functional morphology of the limbs in Palorchestidae, a family of strange extinct marsupial giants. PLoS One14(9), e0221824.

Richards, H. L., Bishop, P. J., Hocking, D. P., Adams, J. W., & Evans, A. R. (2021). Low elbow mobility indicates unique forelimb posture and function in a giant extinct marsupial. Journal of Anatomy238(6), 1425-1441.