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2018-10-25 20:25:42 363 ℃

The extinction of the Australian bag lion has caused controversy. Figure Source: Peter Schouten

A recent analysis shows that Australia's largest predator of marsupials, the bag lion, may feed on animals in dense forests.

This animal eating habit was demonstrated at the North American Society of Vertebrate Society held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA, and supported the idea that climate change led to a baggage lion at 40,000. ~3 million years ago, it was eventually extinct.

The research leader, Vanderbilt University paleontologist Larisa DeSantis, said that the increasingly dry environment of Australia 35,000 years ago reduced the forests of the continent and led to a decline in the forest prey population. This makes it easy for their predators, such as bag lions, to become extinct.

Most research on bag lions focuses on anatomy and on the biomechanics of their skulls, limbs, claws and teeth. Previous studies have shown that this animal is an "ambush" predator that jumps from tree to prey. But research on its diet and lifestyle has been clueless.

For more information, DeSantis and colleagues collected 35 tooth fossils from the bag lion and analyzed the ratio of two stable carbon isotopes in the tooth. This can provide clues about the habitat of the lion. The team also studied tiny pits and scratches on the surface of 106 bagged lion teeth. This can provide information about the diet structure of this animal.

DeSantis said that the ratio of two carbon isotopes in plants is different in open and forest-intensive environments. Researchers can detect this chemical feature from the teeth and bones of herbivores that feed on these habitats and carnivores that feed on them.

The team's analysis of the wear on the surface of larger dental specimens showed that the bagged lion had a eating style consistent with the consumption of bones and meat rather than just meat. It's like a modern African lion. Isotopic evidence also suggests that the bag lion may hunt an animal that eats leaves and is called a wallabies. This kangaroo's teeth have similar chemical characteristics to the lion's lion, indicating that both animals are foraging in forest habitats . (Zonghua)

Related paper information: DOI: 10.1038/d41586-018-07128-z