4. Obdurodon tharalkooschild is thought to have inhabited fresh water and hunted for a variety of animal prey in the forests that dominated the Riversleigh site at the time of deposition. The type material, a single tooth, was discovered in 2012 by a team from the University of New South Wales including Mike Archer, Suzanne Hand, and Rebecca Pian. Relationships between members of the platypus family are more clear, although there is comparatively little in the way of fossils and ideas could change if more material surfaces. However, like O. dicksoni but unlike the modern platypus, it had more permanent dentition. New information about the skull and dentary of the Miocene platypus. [1] In total, 4 specimens are known, dating from the Oligocene to the Pliocene. Obdurodon dicksoni is known only from a skull, lower jaw and teeth. 2. The type specimen is an exceptionally well preserved skull, one of the most intact fossil skulls to be excavated from Riversleigh. Since its skeleton is unknown, there is little further knowledge of its lifestyle. It is certain that the toothless living platypus, Ornithorhynchus, is descended from a Cainozoic platypus (one of the Obdurodon species) with functional teeth. Obdurodon dicksoni, with its extreme bill shape, may not be the direct ancestor of Ornithorhynchus; instead, a smaller and more lightly built platypus, like Obdurodon insignis, may be a closer relative. The M1 had six roots, the M2 had five, and the M3 only one. [12] The description, published in the same year, was the fourth species of the family Ornithorhynchidae to be described, the second from the Riversleigh site, and estimated to have been the largest. The type locality is referred to as the Ringtail Site. Woodburne, M.O. The evolutionary relationships of monotremes are the subject of much debate, and no consensus has yet been reached. Unlike the modern species, the animal retained its molars into adulthood and had a spoon-shaped bill that suggest they fed near the surface or edge of the water. While many of Riversleigh's fossil deposits are now being radiometrically dated, the precise age of the particular deposit that produced this giant platypus is in doubt but is likely to be between 15 and 5 million years old. The finding provides new clues about the lineage of the modern platypus… There was actually a few teeth found in Riversleigh presenting what may be a 100 cm long specimen. A larger species, Obdurodon dicksoni, was found in 19 to 15 million year old deposits at Riversleigh, and the remains include the only known fossil platypus skull. from Riversleigh, Australia, and the Queensland. [7] The species name insignis referred to the importance of the new taxon's "distinguishing mark" in the fossil record. The specific name was chosen in honour of an indigenous Australian creation story for the platypus, where a duck named Tharalkoo gives birth to a chimeric creature after being ravished by a rakali. 2001, 2002). Author. Monotremes may be related to other Southern Hemisphere mammals with triangulated teeth but a primitive jaw form (the Australosphenida of Luo et al. 50 cm is the max. — [1], O. insignis is thought to have had a similar build to the modern platypus. The new platypus species, named Obdurodon tharalkooschild, is based on a single tooth from the famous Riversleigh World Heritage Area of northwest Queensland. The animal is known from Riversleigh fossils and is thought to have existed in the early to mid Miocene era, inhabiting pools and streams of freshwater in a rainforest environment. Obdurodon dicksoni is an extinct species of ornithorhynchid monotreme discovered in Australia. [8], The holotype is the front molar of the upper right jaw, corresponding to the M2 molar, with the unusual character of six roots. Hand, P. Murray, and H. Godthelp. The Riversleigh Cockatoo was about the size of the modern Galah. A second species of Obdurodon, Obdurodon insignis from the late Oligocene Tirari Desert locality in central Australia, is represented by molar teeth, a fragment of a lower jaw and a partial pelvis. (2013). The premolars had only one root and a very different shape from the molars. Apr 3, 2014 - Obdurodon dicksoni: Riversleigh Platypus: Extinct: Australia [6], The tooth was placed into the newly erected genus Obduron when described in 1975 by American palaeontologists Michael O. Woodburne and Richard H. Tedford. In this section, explore all the different ways you can be a part of the Museum's groundbreaking research, as well as come face-to-face with our dedicated staff. Mathew Crowther, University of Sydney. Description of the skull and non-vestigial dentition of a Miocene platypus (, Archer, M., Murray, P., Hand, S. & Godthelp, H., 1993a. The potential prey of the Riversleigh fauna also included frog, turtle, fish and the lungfish, species that are present in the deposition at the Two Tree Site of the Riversleigh formations. [4], An illustration of the species by Jeanette Muirhead, depicted on a rock in a stream within a rainforest, was published by the magazine Natural History (AMNH) in 1994. Unlike the platypus which forages on the lakebed, Obdurodon may have foraged in the water column or surface. Obdurodon dicksoni is known from a well preserved skull (with premolar teeth in place), two lower jaw fragments and numerous isolated teeth. Riversleigh scientific literature. [12], The living animal is assumed to be very similar in form to a modern platypus, but larger, exceeding Monotrematum in size and length. (2013) Pian et al. The wear patterns on the tooth are suggestive of crushing, perhaps by consuming hard-shelled animals such as turtles, rather than using a shearing action. About the size of a child, the largest-known platypus roamed what is now Australia as far back as 15 million years ago, according to newfound fossil remains of the giant monotreme. The Platypus® modular line of BPA-free and taste-free hydration products includes both handheld and hands-free options like hydration systems, hydration packs, water bottles, water treatment systems, wine preservation, and all the essential accessories for camping, backpacking, travel, work and sports. The genus named was derived from Latin to describe the obdurate, that is persistent, molar which is lost in the modern platypus. The potential prey of the Riversleigh fauna also included frog, turtle, fish and the lungfish, species that are present in the deposition at the Two Tree Site of the Riversleigh formations. nov. (Figs. [5] The second specimen discovered there, AMNH 97228, is an upper right molar. 1, 2) Etymology—In recognition of an Aboriginal legend (Archer, 1990) about the origin of the first platypus being the offspring of a male water rat (Bigoon) and a female duck (Tharalkoo). The species was published in 1992 by Michael Archer, F. A. Jenkins, S. J. A second toothed platypus, Obdurodon dicksoni, was discovered by Mike Archer’s group at Riversleigh in 1984 and dated to about 15 million years ago. Riversleigh, in the north-west of Queensland, is Australia's most famous fossil site. & Tedford, R.H. 1975. Check out the What's On calendar of events, workshops and school holiday programs. Come and explore what our researchers, curators and education programs have to offer! [12] 2 (10): e1601329. Description of the skull and non-vestigial dentition of a Miocene platypus (, Lake Ngapakaldi to Lake Palankarinna Fossil Area, "Fossil of giant platypus unearthed in Riversleigh", "New information about the skull and dentary of the Miocene platypus Obdurodon dicksoni, and a discussion of ornithorhynchid relationships", "Giant Platypus Found, Shakes Up Evolutionary Tree", "Extinct 'Godzilla' platypus found in Australia - Yahoo News UK", "Giant extinct toothed platypus discovered", "Tharalkoo's child: an ugly duckling story. Obdurodon probably fed on insect larvae, yabbies and other crustaceans, and perhaps small vertebrate animals such as frogs and fish. The diet is likely to have been crustacea, the water borne larvae of insects, or perhaps small vertebrates like fish and frogs. Description of the skull and non-vestigial dentition of a Miocene platypus (Obdurodon dicksoni n.sp) from Riversleigh ... Enamel of Yalkaparidon coheni: representative of a distinctive Order of … They appeared much like their modern day relative the platypus, except adults retained their molar teeth. Archer, M., Hand, S.J. Older Obdurodon species are known from central Australia, and a closely related species, Monotrematum sudamericanum, from the Paleocene of Patagonia, evidence that platypuses were once Gondwanan. This indicates the mastication technique of O. dicksoni was different from that of the platypus, using the muscles anchored to these processes. Riversleigh is an isolated area about 140 miles (225 km) northwest of the city of Mount Isa.The fossils are found in limestone rock outcrops near the Gregory River. O. dicksoni had (like the platypus) shearing crests instead of incisor and canine teeth. Mathew Crowther The Riversleigh Platypus looked similar to today's Platypus but was slightly larger, with a much larger bill. We explore the question of monotreme monophyly Riversleigh fossils, any of numerous assemblages of fossils found at Riversleigh Station, in northwestern Queensland, Australia, which together constitute the richest and most diverse collection of fossils ever found on that continent. Image credit: gadigal yilimung (shield) made by Uncle Charles Chicka Madden. Obdurodon probably fed on insect larvae, yabbies and other crustaceans, and perhaps small vertebrate animals such as frogs and fish. Reconsideration of monotreme relationships based on the skull and dentition of the Miocene, Musser, A.M., Archer, M., 1998. Obdurodon differed from modern Platypuses in that it still had teeth (except for juveniles, the modern platypus does not have teeth).. References. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. Science Advances. Archer, et al. This species is characterized by a skull and several scattered teeth. What is special about the fossil of this platypus? The Australian Museum respects and acknowledges the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation as the First Peoples and Traditional Custodians of the land and waterways on which the Museum stands. "The first Tertiary Monotreme from Australia. though. Hand, P. Murray, and H. Godthelp, describing a skull and several teeth found in lower-middle Miocene deposits from the Australian Fossil Mammal Sites. Obdurodon tharalkooschild was the second extinct platypus in Riversleigh and the largest by a good 10-20 cm Order MONOTREMATA Bonaparte, 1837 Family ORNITHORHYNCHIDAE Gray, 1825 Genus OBDURODON Woodburne and Tedford, 1975 OBDURODON THARALKOOSCH1LD, sp. Its skull is one of the most perfect fossils known from the area. Jan 8, 2015 - Obdurodon dicksoni: Riversleigh Platypus: Extinct: Australia You have reached the end of the page. Other than the skull and teeth, no other fossilised material of O. dicksoni has been identified. In life, it would have resembled a much larger version of its living relative, the platypus. [12], The name given to the species was discussed in a 1990 paper by Mike Archer, an Australian mammalogist, detailing a creation story with an Ugly Duckling motif in the context of palaeontology. [13][7] A philosophical examination of historical sciences such as palaeontology, published in 2018, uses the tooth of this platypus as an example of the results obtainable by multiple methods of research into traces of evidence; the author refers to the species by the vernacular "platyzilla".[14]. The reconstructed fossil skull of Obdurodon dicksoni (13 cm long), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Collection, Australian Museum Research Institute (AMRI), Natural Sciences research and collections, Australian Museum Lizard Island Research Station, 2020 Australian Museum Eureka Prizes finalists, 2020 Australian Museum Eureka Prize winners, Become a volunteer at the Australian Museum. 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