CSIRO Publishing blank image blank image blank image blank imageBooksblank image blank image blank image blank imageJournalsblank image blank image blank image blank imageAbout Usblank image blank image blank image blank imageShopping Cartblank image blank image blank image You are here: Journals > Australian Journal of Zoology   
Australian Journal of Zoology
Journal Banner
  Evolutionary, molecular and comparative zoology
blank image Search
blank image blank image
blank image
  Advanced Search

Journal Home
About the Journal
Editorial Structure
Online Early
Current Issue
Just Accepted
All Issues
Special Issues
Sample Issue
For Authors
General Information
Submit Article
Author Instructions
Open Access
Awards and Prizes
For Referees
Referee Guidelines
Review an Article
Annual Referee Index
For Subscribers
Subscription Prices
Customer Service
Print Publication Dates
Library Recommendation

blue arrow e-Alerts
blank image
Subscribe to our Email Alert or RSS feeds for the latest journal papers.

red arrow Connect with us
blank image
facebook twitter logo LinkedIn


Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 36(3)

Functional-Morphology of the Limbs of Thylacoleo-Carnifex Owen (Thylacoleonidae, Marsupialia)

ME Finch and L Freedman

Australian Journal of Zoology 36(3) 251 - 272
Published: 1988


The limb bones and girdles of an almost complete specimen of the extinct 'marsupial lion' Thylacoleo carnifex, from Moree, New South Wales, have been fully described pictorially, metrically and in text. To investigate limb function, intra- and inter-limb segment indices and limb proportions standardised against the presacral vertebral column, were calculated for 11 samples of extant Australian marsupials. Comparisons were made between these values, those for Thylacoleo and published data for extant placental carnivores. The Thylacoleo fore- and hindlimbs were almost equal in length (FL/HL, 94%) and relatively long compared to the vertebral column (79% and 84%). In the forelimb the radius was clearly longer than the humerus (115%), and the hindlimb the tibia was considerably shorter than the femur (82%). Amongst the marsupials, the main Thylacoleo indices were most similar to those of Sarcophilus, but with some significant differences, notably in propodial/epipodial length ratios. Compared to Panthera leo there were many marked similarities. Morphologically, the Thylacoleo scapula conforms to that found in walking and trotting, rather than climbing, viverrids; the pelvis similarly agrees with that of ambulators and cursors. It was concluded that Thylacoleo carnifex was a slow- medium cursor, possibly capable of leaping. There was also a series of adaptations such as the length of the radius, the stout olecranon, the blade-like fifth metatarsal and the massive terminal phalanx of digit I, clearly implying a carnivorous habit.

Full text doi:10.1071/ZO9880251

© CSIRO 1988

blank image
Subscriber Login

PDF (833 KB) $25
 Export Citation
Legal & Privacy | Contact Us | Help


© CSIRO 1996-2016