The Giant Wombat

Scientists have concluded a seven-year study into 130-kilogram giant wombats — comparable in size to “really large sheep” — that lived in central Queensland about 80,000 years ago.

Key points:

  • Researchers have concluded a seven-year study into an extinct megafauna species of wombat after a skull was found in central Queensland in the early 2000s
  • Ramsayia magna are closely related to modern wombats but were much larger, weighing up to 130 kilograms
  • A fossil of the species is part of the Queensland Museum collection and could one day be put on display

A team led by Griffith University’s Australian Research Centre for Human Evolution excavated and studied the extinct megafauna species after a skull was found at Johannsen’s Cave north of Rockhampton in the early 2000s.

Team leader Julien Louys said Ramsayia magna was one of three giant wombats scientists were aware of.

“They’re closely related to the modern wombats but they’re much larger than the current species,” Dr Louys said.

“[There are] about a dozen specimens across the entirety of the continent of Australia, so it’s incredibly rare.”

The team’s research is published today in the Papers in Palaeontology scientific journal.