eCite Digital Repository

The rise and fall of large marsupial carnivores


Johnson, CN, The rise and fall of large marsupial carnivores, Carnivores of Australia: Past, Present and Future, CSIRO Publishing, AS Glen, CR Dickman (ed), Collingwood, Australia, pp. 13-26. ISBN 9780643103108 (2014) [Research Book Chapter]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2014 A.S Glen, C.R. Dickman and CSIRO Publishing

Official URL:


Australia currently has few large mammalian carnivores, and the largest and most widespread of these are recently arrived placental species. However, the carnivorous marsupials of Australia have a glorious past. Specialised carnivory evolved in four marsupial families, and over the last 30 million years marsupial carnivores became steadily more specialised, larger and (probably) more diverse in species. They included some powerful, large predators, comparable to the most specialised predators among placental mammals on other continents. The fall of marsupial carnivores began with the extinction of the largest species around 45 000 years ago, when all large vertebrates disappeared. The cause of this extinction has been much debated, but most recent evidence suggests that hurnan hunting was responsible. More recently, the thylacine and devil disappeared from mainland Australia, and the thylacine ultimately went extinct from Tasmania as well. The causes of these extinctions are also controversial.

Item Details

Item Type:Research Book Chapter
Keywords:marsupial evolution, predators
Research Division:Environmental Sciences
Research Group:Environmental management
Research Field:Wildlife and habitat management
Objective Division:Animal Production and Animal Primary Products
Objective Group:Other animal production and animal primary products
Objective Field:Other animal production and animal primary products not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Johnson, CN (Professor Christopher Johnson)
ID Code:97209
Year Published:2014
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (DP110103069)
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2014-12-05
Last Modified:2018-04-04

Repository Staff Only: item control page