Procoptodon goliah Owen, 1845

Giant short-faced kangaroo



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Macropus goliah Owen, 1845


Conservation Status


Last record: Late Pleistocene





Anatomy & Morphology

It weighed an estimated 232kg (Johnson, 2006:19) or 250kg (Johnson & Prideaux, 2004:557) or a mean 232 ± 10.7kg (n=3, range 224–244kg).


Biology & Ecology

It was a browser or mixed feeder (Johnson, 2006:19).



UCMP 45475 (Helgen et al., 2006:303)

SAM P17357 (Helgen et al., 2006:303)






Original scientific description:

Owen, Richard. (1845). In: Waterhouse, G. R. A natural history of the Mammalia. VDU. Containing the order Marsupiala, or pouched animals, with illustrations engraved on steel, and 18 engravings on wood. London, Hippolyte Bailliere, 553 pp., 22 pIs.


Other references:

Armand, L., Ride, W. D. L. and Taylor, G. (2000). The stratigraphy and palaeontology of Teapot Creek, MacLaughlin River, NSW. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 122: 101-121.

Bartholomai, A. (1970). The extinct genus Procoptodon Owen (Marsupialia: Macropodidae) in Queensland. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 15: 213-233.

Brown, Steven P. and Wells, Roderick T. (2000). A middle Pleistocene vertebrate fossil assemblage from Cathedral Cave, Naracoorte, South Australia. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia 124(2): 91-104.

De Vis, Charles W. (1899). On some remains of marsupials from Lake Colongulac, Victoria. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria 12: 107-111.

Flannery, T. F. (1987). The Giant Short-faced Kangaroo. Pp. 72-74 in The Antipodean Ark edited by S. Hand and M. Archer, and illustrated by Peter Schouten. Angus and Robertson Publishers, North Ryde.

Helgen, Kristofer M., Wells, Rod T., Kear, Benjamin P., Gerdtz, Wayne R. and Flannery, Timothy F. (2006). Ecological and evolutionary significance of sizes of giant extinct kangaroos. Australian Journal of Zoology 54(4): 293-303. [body weight estimate]

Johnson, Chris N. (2006). Australia's Mammal Extinctions: A 50 000 Year History. Port Melbourne, Victoria: Cambridge University Press. x + 278 pp. [p. 19]

Johnson, Chris N. and Prideaux, Gavin J. (2004). Extinctions of herbivorous mammals in the late Pleistocene of Australia in relation to their feeding ecology: no evidence for environmental change as cause of extinction. Australian Ecology 29: 553-557.

Long, John et al. (2002). Prehistoric Mammals of Australia and New Guinea, One Hundred Million Years of Evolution. Sydney: University of NSW Press.

Mahoney, J. A. and Ride, W. D. L. (1975). Index to the genera and species of fossil Mammalia described from Australia and New Guinea between 1838 and 1968. Western Australian Museum Special Publication 6: 1-250.

Marcus, L. F. 1976. The Bingara Fauna: a Pleistocene vertebrate fauna from Murchison County, New South Wales, Australia. University of California Publications in Geological Sciences 114:1±145.

McCoy, F. (1879). Procoptodon goliah. P. 42 in Prodromus of the Palaeontology of Victoria, Decade VI. Geological Survey of Victoria. Melbourne: Government Printer.

McNamara, Ken and Murray, Peter. (2010). Prehistoric Mammals of Western Australia. Welshpool, WA: Western Australian Museum. 107 pp.

Merrilees, D. 1973. Fossiliferous deposits at Lake Tandou, New South Wales, Australia. Memoirs of the National Museum of Victoria 34:177±182.

Merrilees, D. and Ride, W. D. L. (1965). Procoptodon goliah (Macropodidae, Marsupialia) from western Eyre Peninsula, South Australia. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia 89: 139-142.

Molnar, R. E., and C. Kurz. 1997. The distribution of Pleistocene vertebrates on the eastern Darling Downs, based on the Queensland Museum collections. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 117:107±134.

Owen, Richard. (1845). Macropus goliah (fossil). P. 59 in G. R. Waterhouse, A Natural History of the Mammalia. VOlume 1. Contining the Order Marsupiata, or Pouch Animals. London: Hippolyte Baillière.

Owen, R. (1873). Procoptodon goliah, Owen. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London 21: 387.

Prideaux, G. J. 2004. Systematics and evolution of the sthenurine kangaroos. University of California Publications in Geological Sciences 146:i±xviii, 1±623.

Prideaux, G. J., R. G. Roberts, D. Megirian, K. E. Westaway, J. C. Hellstrom, and J. M. Olley. (2007). Mammalian responses to Pleistocene climate change in southeastern Australia. Geology 35:33±36.

Prideaux, Gavin J. and Warburton, Natalie M. (2023). A review of the late Cenozoic genus Bohra (Diprotodontia: Macropodidae) and the evolution of tree-kangaroos. Zootaxa 5299(1): 1-95.

Prideaux, Gavin J. et al. (2009). Extinction implications of a chenopod browse diet for a giant Pleistocene kangaroo. PNAS 106(28): 11646-11650.

Reed, Elizabeth H. and Bourne, Steven J. (2000). Pleistocene fossil vertebrate sites of the south east region of South Australia. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia 124(2): 61-90.

Reed, Elizabeth H. and Bourne, Steven J. (2009). Pleistocene Fossil Vertebrate Sites of the South East Region of South Australia II. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia 133(1): 30-40.

Roberts, Richard G, Flannery, Timothy F., Ayliffe, Linda, Yoshida, Hiroyuki, Olley, Jon M., Prideaux, Gavin J., Laslett, Geoff M., Baynes, Alexander, Smith, M. A., Jones, Rhys I. and Smith, Barton L. (2001). New ages for the last Australian megafauna: Continent-wide extinction about 46,000 years ago. Science 292(5523): 1888-1892.

Sanson, G. D., Riley, S. J. and Williams, M. A. (1980). A late Quaternary Procoptodon fossil from Lake George, New South Wales. Search 11: 39-40.

Smith F.A., Lyons S.K., Ernest S.K.M., Jones K.E., Kaufman D.M., Dayan T., Marquet P.A., Brown J.H., Haskell J.P. 2003 Body mass of late Quaternary mammals. Ecology 84(12): 3403-3403.

Taçon, Paul S. C. and Webb, Steve. (2017). Art and megafauna in the Top End of the Northern Territory, Australia: Illusion or reality?, pp. 145-161. In: David, Bruno et al. (eds.). Terra Australis 47. Acton, A.C.T.: ANU Press. xxvi + 499 pp.

Tedford, R. H. 1967. The fossil Macropodidae from Lake Menindee, New South Wales. University of California Publications in Geological Sciences 64:1-156.

Waterhouse, George Robert. (1846). A Natural History of the Mammalia. Volume 1, Containing the Order Marsupiata or Pouched Animals. London: Hippolyte Baillière. 553 pp + 20 pls.


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