Animal discoveries fascinate the world

A giant raptor twice the size of a wedge-tailed eagle and a weird wombat relative and a nut-cracking possum from inland Australia have been described in new Flinders Palaeontology research.

Photo courtesy Mark Adams, Natural History Museum, London.

Along with a new high-tech study of the mysterious Night Parrot, three fascinating animal research stories have attracted international media coverage this month, including Newsweek, Xinhua, Forbes, BBC and multiple US, British, German and Asian news sites.

The latest publications were published in quick succession after years of remote field trips and extensive research led by PhDs Dr Ellen Mather, Arthur Crichton and Dr Elen Shute, who used an historical specimen from the National History Museum in London to conduct her study (pictured).

The three research articles attracted widespread national coverage and overseas interest – with the giant eagle (dubbed Dynatoaetus gaffae or ‘Gaff’s powerful eagle’), pieced together from bones in the southern Flinders Ranges and three other fossil sites around Australia.

The ancient Mihirung relative and possum described from fossil remains at a remote NT settlement helps fill in a lost part of a 25 million-year-old fossil site puzzle in central Australia’s Red Centre.


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College of Science and Engineering palaeontology Palaeontology Laboratory