Propleopus oscillans De Vis, 1888

Carnivorous kangaroo



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Triclis oscillans De Vis, 1888


Conservation Status


Last record: Late Pleistocene





Anatomy & Morphology

It weighed an estimated 40kg (Johnson, 2006:18).

"Propleopus oscillans seems to have moved on four legs (rather than hopping, like a kangaroo), which suggests that it was probably not quick on its feet but was a capable endurance runner (Ride et al., 1997). The species may have filled an ecological role similar to that of dogs or foxes (although an analogy with bears might be even more appropriate)."

(Johnson, 2006:28)


Biology & Ecology

An omnivorous species, that was partly carnivorous (Johnson, 2006).









Original scientific description:

De Vis, Charles W. (1888). On an extinct genus of the marsupials allied to Hypsiprymnodon. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales (2) 3: 5-8.


Other references:

Archer, Michael. (1997). The flesh-eating kangaroo. Highlife 130(November): 130.

Archer, Michael and Flannery, Timothy F. (1985). Revision of the extinct gigantic rat kangaroos (Potoroidae: Marsupialia), with description of a new Miocene genus and species and a new Pleistocene species of Propleopus. Journal of Paleontology 59: 1331-49.

Bartholomai, A. (1972). Some upper cheek teeth in Propleopus oscillans (De Vis). Mem. Qd. Mus. 16: 211-213.

Cupper, M. L. and Duncan, J. (2006). Last glacial megafaunal death assemblage and early human occupation at Lake Menindee, southeastern Australia. Quaternary Research 66(2): 332-341.

Flannery, Timothy F. (1985). Propleopus oscillans (De Vis, 1888): The Giant Rat Kangaroo, pp. 245-248. In: Vickers-Rich, Patricia and van Tets, Gerard Frederick. (eds.). Kadimakara: Extinct Vertebrates of Australia. Lilydale, Victoria: Pioneer Design Studio. 284 pp.

Johnson, Chris N. (2006). Australia's Mammal Extinctions: A 50 000 Year History. Port Melbourne, Victoria: Cambridge University Press. x + 278 pp. [p. 18, pl. 8, p. 28]

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.

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.

Murray, P. F. (1991). The Pleistocene megafauna of Australia, pp. 1071-1164. In: Vickers-Rich, P., Monaghan, J. M., Baird, R. F., and Rich, T. H. Vertebrate Palaeontology of Australiasia. Lilydale, Victoria: Pioneer Design Studio.

Pledge, N. S. (1981). The giant rat-kangaroo Propleopus oscillans (De Vis), (Potoroidae: Marsupialia) in South Australia. Trans. R. Soc. S. Aust. 105(1): 41-47.

Pledge, Neville S. (1990). The Upper Fossil Fauna of the Henschke Fossil Cave, Naracoorte, South Australia. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum (Proceedings of the De Vis Symposium) 28(1): 247-262.

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.

Ride, W. D. L, Pridmore, P.A., Barwick, R.E., Wells, R.T., & Heady, R.D. (1997). Towards a biology of Propleopus oscillans (Marsupialia: Propleopinae, Hypsiprymnodontidae). Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 117: 243-328.

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.

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.

Tedford, R. H. (1955). Report on the extinct mammalian remains at Lake Menindee, New South Wales. Rec. S. Aust. Mus. 11: 299-305.

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

Woods, J. T. (1960). The genera Propleopus and Hypsiprymnodon and their position in the Macropodidae. Mem. Qd. Mus. 13: 199-221.

Wroe, Stephen. (1996). An investigation of phylogeny in the Giant Rat-kangaroo Ekaltadeta (Propleopinae, Hypsiprymnodontidae, Marsupialia). Journal of Paleontology 70: 681-690.

Wroe, Stephen. (1997). Stratigraphy and phylogeny of the giant extinct Rat-kangaroos (Propleopinae, Hypsiprymnodontidae, Marsupialia). Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 41(2): 449-456.


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