Wakiewakie lawsoni

Wakiewakie lawsoni

Reconstruction of Wakiewakie lawsoni
– Art by Dorothy Dunphy (Archer et al. 1994)

Wakiewakie lawsoni (Lawson’s Wakiwakie) was a small rat-kangaroo related to bettongs and other rat-kangaroos. It was most likely omnivorous, though it may have been a specialist, eating mostly fungi (mushrooms) in the Riversleigh rainforests.

Body size estimate

Body mass estimated at around 800 grams.

Distribution and locality

Wakiewakie lawsoni is known from the early Miocene deposits of the Riversleigh World Heritage Area,  northwestern Queensland and from the Kutjamarpu Local Fauna in South Australia.

 

Riversleigh deposits include:

Faunal Zone B (Early Miocene) – Upper Site.

 

Habitat

It is found in Faunal Zones B (Early Miocene). Faunal Zone B is considered to be a rainforest environment.

Feeding and Diet

It was most likely omnivorous, though it may have been a specialist, eating mostly fungi (mushrooms) in the Riversleigh rainforests.

 

Wakiewakie fossil

Fossil jaw of Wakiewakie lawsoni

Fossil material

A near complete lower jaw (dentary) was recovered from Kutjamarpu Local Fauna in South Australia. Only one specimen of this species was found at Riversleigh.

 

Evolutionary Relationships

Wakiewakie lawsoni is a member of the family Macropodidae, a family which included the rat-kangaroos (Potoroinae) and bettongs.

Classification

Kingdom:

             Animalia

Phylum:

             Chordata

Class:

             Mammalia

Order:

             Diprotodontia

Family:

             Macropodidae

Genus:

             Wakiewakie

Species:

             lawsoni

 

References

  • Woodburne, M. O. 1984. Wakiewakie lawsoni, a new genus and species of Potoroinae (Marsupialia: Macropodidae) of medial Miocene age, South Australia. Journal of Paleontology 58, 1062-1073.
  • Travouillon, K.J., Legendre, S., Archer, M., and Hand, S.J., 2009. Palaeoecological Analyses of Riversleigh’s Oligo-Miocene Sites: Implications for Oligo-Miocene climate change in Australia. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology,Palaeoecology 276, 24–37.

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