Megafauna: What Killed Australia’s Giants? on ABC
Megafauna: What Killed Australia’s Giants? (image - ABC)

Tonight | Megafauna: What Killed Australia’s Giants? on ABC and ABC iview

Megafauna: What Killed Australia’s Giants? on ABC – Australia was once home to a group of extraordinary animals known as megafauna.

They lived here for millennia but around 42,000 years ago, disappeared in a blink of time. So, what happened to Australia’s giants?

To find out, a team of paleo sleuths embark on a perilous journey through the underwater passages of Tank Cave, a flooded sinkhole in South Australia. Underwater for 90 minutes, they reach the ‘bone room’, a treasure trove only 10 people have ever seen. Amongst the bones, the upper tooth of Australia’s most deadly ancient marsupial, Thylacoleo.

The jaguar-sized Thylacoleo was Australia’s biggest ever marsupial predator. Its impressive jaws and teeth are investigated by Dr Aaron Camens, who builds a replica to test how much force is needed to recreate bite marks seen on fossil kangaroo bones.

In Queensland’s Darling Downs amateur palaeontologist Ian Sobbe has found evidence of the largest land lizard to have ever existed, Megalania. Dr Gilbert Price explains this 6m long behemoth was probably venomous.

Dr Scott Hocknull uses fossil evidence to show that Megalania and other predatory megafauna were armed to the teeth. But did humans ever hunt them?

New Zealand’s history can reveal more about interactions between humans and megafauna. At Te Papa Tongarewa, Alan Tennyson brings to life an extinct giant bird, the Moa. Maori archaeologist Amber Aranui explains the oral histories of her ancestors, lamenting that the bird was lost to unsustainable harvesting.

To discover if this occurred in Australia, Adnyamathanha elders welcome a team from Flinders University to a site where their ancestors sheltered – and where a Diprotodon bone was discovered. The collaboration reveals a new way of interpreting fossil evidence.

With the world in the grip of a mass extinction event, it’s never been more important to understand the drivers of extinction in the past.

Production credit: An ABC Production. Produced, Directed and Filmed by Jeff Siberry, Producers Oliver Graham, Kirsty Walsh, Series Producer: Elle Gibbons, ABC Executive Producer Penny Palmer, ABC Head of Factual Susie Jones.

Megafauna: What Killed Australia’s Giants? on ABC and ABC iview – Tuesday 2 July at 8.00pm

TV Central ABC content HERE

Megafauna: What Killed Australia’s Giants? on ABC

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