Scientists discover lion species that roamed Australia 23 million years ago

Paleontologists have revealed a new species of marsupial lion in Australia. The now-extinct species, Lekaneleo roskellyae or Leo, once roamed the Riversleigh area in the north-west highlands of Queensland over 23 million years ago. It is one of the smallest lions ever discovered, and was about the size of a domestic cat.

Paleontologists from the University of New South Wales discovered the remains of the small lion at the Riversleigh World Heritage Area, where scientists have been finding fossils for decades.

Despite its small size, Leo would have been feared by other animals in the Riversleigh ancient rainforest. It had elongated, ‘bolt-cutting’ premolar teeth that were capable of easily slicing through the bones of its prey. This is the most extraordinary adaptation or evolution that a carnivorous mammal has ever developed anywhere in the world.

Marsupial lions died out 35,000 years ago, and are not closely related to modern lions that roam Africa or the endangered Asiatic lion in India.


Picture Credit : Google