Something cute and fuzzy today.
As the koala (genus: Phascolarctos) is added to the large reptile tree (LRT, 1187 taxa, subset Fig. 1). And, based on phylogenetic bracketing, the case for carnivory in Thylacoleo (Fig. 4) fades.
Everyone loves the koala.
It’s a cute climbing wombat.
one big toe and two skinny central toes distinguish the auto podia of Phasolarctos.
The Thylacoleo problem
Smack dab in the middle of a long list of marsupial herbivores nests the marsupial lion, Thylacoleo (Figs. 4, 5) nesting here (Fig. 1) as a sister to the wombat, Vombatus. Said to be carnivorous due to its shearing post-canine teeth, it would be the exception in this clade of plant-eaters. Wait! Doesn’t Triceratops also have scissor-like shearing teeth? Maybe it’s the cat-like retractable claws found on Thylacoleo? Another tree-climber, Phasolarctos doesn’t have claw sheaths like Thylacoleo. This problem has surrounded Thylacoleo for decades and it won’t be solved here. More data below.
This YouTube video
describes the finding of a complete and unburied Thylacoleo skeleton. About 45 minutes long, as I recall…