Living approximately 2 million to 10,000 years ago – during the Lived during the Pleistocene to the Modern Period – Procoptodon was an ancestor of modern kangaroos. It was first discovered during the 19th century and named and described by Richard Owen in 1873. Its name means “forward hill tooth.”
If you’ve been looking at Procoptodon pictures, then you might have come to the conclusion that this marsupial looks quite a lot like a modern kangaroo – except with maybe a shorter snout. However, there were also a few other differences between this animal and modern kangaroos. For instance, this animal stood about 10 feet tall and weighed around 500 pounds. The average kangaroo stands 4.9 feet tall and weighs around 200 pounds. As you can see, Procoptodon was at least twice as big.
This marsupial – who is just one of many short-faced kangaroos to roam the plains of Australia – probably lived off of a diet of plants. It had short and stubby arms which would have been perfect for pulling down branches so it could eat leaves; leaves are probably what made up the bulk of its diet.
One of the most fascinating facts about Procoptodon is that it probably couldn’t hop. Scientists have examined the structure of this marsupials legs and have concluded that if it hopped, it would put so much stress on its joints and tendons that it would have injured itself. Therefore, scientists believe that this animal either walked or ran on their legs. Anything more would have just been disastrous for Procoptodon.
Scientists are unsure why Procoptodon went extinct some 50,000 years ago. Some paleontologists have speculated that its extinction occurs about the same time that human settlers arrived in the area. However, no one is really sure, if these settlers hunted Procoptodon. Other scientists have a simpler explanation for these animals extinction. That its extinction was likely due to the disappearance of its favorite plants. That its food supply simply disappeared.