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Palorchestes ('ancient leaper or dancer') is an extinct genus of terrestrial herbivorous marsupial of the family Palorchestidae. The genus was endemic to Australia, living from the Late Miocene subepoch through the Pleistocene epoch (around 11.6 mya – 11,000 years ago), and thought to be in existence for approximately 11.59 million years.

DescriptionEdit

One species, Palorchestes azael, was almost as large as a horse, being around 2.5 metres (8.2 ft) in length with a weight of about 200 kilograms (440 lb), and had four powerful legs.[1] The appearance of the animal's nasal bones suggests that it possessed a short proboscis, leading to the nickname of the "marsupial tapir". Since it is unrelated to tapirs, this similarity in nose shape is an example of convergent evolution. Palorchestes front legs bore large claws, similar to those of a koala, which it probably used to pull down leaves and strip the bark from trees.[2]

The long symphysis at the lower jaw of all Palorchestes species indicates that the tongue was long and protrudible, like that of a giraffe.

DiscoveryEdit

Fossilized remains of Palorchestes azael have been found at the Naracoorte Caves fossil site in Australia.

EtymologyEdit

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