Onirocuscus silvicultrix (meaning ‘Forest Dwelling Dreamtime Cuscus’) is an extinct species of Cuscus (Family Phalangeridae) found in the early Miocene of Riversleigh World Heritage Area. It is represented by two lower jaws and a lower molar only.
Body size estimate
Body mass estimated around 1.8kg.
Distribution and locality
Onirocuscus silvicultrix is only known from Riversleigh. It is found in the following Riversleigh site:
Faunal Zone B (early Miocene) – Boid Site East, Camel Sputum Site and Wayne’s Wok Site.
It is found in Riversleigh Faunal Zone B. Faunal Zone B is considered to represent rainforest environments.
Feeding and Diet
It was likely to be herbivorous like its modern relatives, feeding on fruits, flowers and leaves of rainforest tree species.
Onirocuscus silvicultrix is known two lower jaws, QMF24743 and QMF41197, and a lower molar QMF13101.
It has closer affinities with other fossil species from Riversleigh WHA and Hamilton, Victoria, than with modern cuscus species.
- Archer, M., Hand, S.J. & Godthelp, H. 1994. Riversleigh: the Story of Animals in Ancient Rainforests of Inland Australia. Reed Books, Sydney.
- Crosby, K., 2007. Rediagnosis of the fossil species assigned to Strigocuscus (Marsupialia, Phalangeridae), with description of a new genus and three new species. Alcheringa 31, 33-58.