Simosthenurus occidentalis (Glauert, 1910:31)

Giant short-faced kangaroo, Western sthenurine kangaroo (proposed)



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Sthenurus occidentalis Glauert, 1910:31; Simosthenurus orientalis Tedford, 1966


Conservation Status


Last record: Late Pleistocene


Subfossil remains of this species from a 33-27,000 year old layer have been uncovered from Tight Entrance Cave, southwestern Australia (Prideaux, 2007:17). However these may have been worked from older sedimentological levels, and further analysis is need to resolve their true age. The species may have only persisted until c.50ka, or even older.



Australia (including Tasmania)


Anatomy & Morphology

It weighed an estimated 50kg (Johnson & Prideaux, 2004:557) or 118kg (Johnson, 2006:19) or a mean 118 ± 14.3 (n=5, range 97–136kg) (Helgen et al., 2006).


Biology & Ecology

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



SAM P17259 (Helgen et al., 2006:303)

SAM P18298 (Helgen et al., 2006:303)

SAM P17282 (Helgen et al., 2006:303)

SAM P17474 (Helgen et al., 2006:303)

SAM P17301 (Helgen et al., 2006:303)

SAM P20820 (Helgen et al., 2006:303)






Original scientific description:

Glauert, Ludwig. (1910a). The Mammoth cave. Records of the Western Australian Museum and Art Gallery 1(1): 11-36.


Other references:

Adnams-Hodges, W. A. J. (1988). A partial reconstruction of the musculature and habits of an extinct browsing kangaroo (Sthenurus occidentalis). Unpublished. B.Sc. (Hons) Thesis, Flinders University of South Australia.

Anderson, C. (1932). Palaeontological notes. No. III. The skull of Sthenurus occidentalis Glauert. Rec. Aust. Mus. 18(7): 383-388.

Archer, Michael "Mike". (1978). Quaternary vertebrate faunas from the Texas Caves of southeastern Queensland. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 19(1): 61-109.

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.

Ayliffe, Linda K. et al. (2008). Age constraints on Pleistocene megafauna at Tight Entrance Cave in southwestern Australia. Quaternary Science Reviews 27(17-18): 1784-1788. [Abstract]

Balme, J. M., D. Merrilees, and J. K. Porter. (1978). Late Quaternary mammal remains, spanning about 30,000 years, from excavations in Devil's Lair, Western Australia. Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia 61: 33-65.

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.

Buckley, Michael, Cosgrove, Richard, Garvey, Jillian and Prideaux, Gavin J. (2017). Identifying remains of extinct kangaroos in Late Pleistocene deposits using collagen fingerprinting. Journal of Quaternary Science 32(5): 653-660.

Cascini, Manuela et al. (2018). Reconstructing the Evolution of Giant Extinct Kangaroos: Comparing the Utility of DNA, Morphology, and Total Evidence. Systematic Biology. doi: [Abstract]

Flannery, Timothy F. and Gott, B. (1984). The Spring Creek locality, southwestern Victoria, a late surviving megafaunal assemblage. Australian Zoologist 21(4): 385-422.

Flood, J. (1974). Pleistocene man at Cloggs Cave: his tool kit and environment. Mankind 9: 175-188.

Fraser, Rebecca A. and Wells, Roderick T. (2006). The palaeontological excavation and taphonomic investigation of a late Pleistocene fossil deposit in Grant Hall, Naracoorte, South Australia. Alcheringa Special Issue 1, 2006: 147-161.

Gillespie, Richard, Camens, Aaron B., Worthy, Trevor H., Rawlence, Nicolas J., Reid, Craig, Bertuch, Fiona, Levchenko, Vladimir and Cooper, Alan. (2012). Man and megafauna in Tasmania: Closing the gap. Quaternary Science Reviews 37: 38-47. [Abstract]

Glauert, Ludwig. (1910b). Sthenurus occidentalis (Glauert). Bulletin of the Geological Survey of Western Australia 36: 53-69.

Glauert, Ludwig G. (1926 "1925"). A list of Western Australian fossils. Supplement no.1. West. Aust. Geol. Surv. Bull. 88: 36-71.

Glauert, Ludwig. (1948). The cave fossils of the South-West. Western Australian Naturalist 1: 100-104.

Goede, A. and Bada, J. L. (1985). Electron spin resonance dating of Quaternary bone material from Tasmanian caves: a comparison with ages determined by aspartic acid recemization and C14. Australian Journal of Earth Sciences 32: 155-162.

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]

Jankowski, N. R., Gully, G. A., Jacobs, Z., Roberts, R. G. and Prideaux, G. J. (2016). A late Quaternary vertebrate deposit in Kudjal Yolgah Cave, south‐western Australia: refining regional late Pleistocene extinctions. Journal of Quaternary Science 31(5): 538-550.

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.

Llamas, Bastien et al. (2014). Late Pleistocene Australian marsupial DNA clarifies the affinities of extinct megafaunal kangaroos and wallabies. Molecular Biology and Evolution 32: 574-584.

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.

McNamara, K. J., Long, John A. and and Brimmell, K. (1991). Catalogue of type fossils in the Western Australian Museum. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement No. 39: 1-106.

Merrilees, D. (1979). The prehistoric environment in Western Australia. Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia 62(3 or 4): 109-128.

Mitchell, David Rex. (2019a). The anatomy of a crushing bite: the specialised cranial mechanics of a giant extinct kangaroo. Dataset.

Mitchell, David Rex. (2019b). The anatomy of a crushing bite: The specialised cranial mechanics of a giant extinct kangaroo. PLoS ONE 14(9): e0221287. 

Mitchell, David Rex and Wroe, Stephen. (2018). Biting mechanics determines craniofacial morphology among extant diprotodont herbivores: Dietary predictions for the giant extinct short-faced kangaroo, Simosthenurus occidentalis. Publication type? [Abstract]

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.

Murray, P. F., and A. Goede. 1977. Pleistocene vertebrate remains from a cave near Montagu, N.W. Tasmania. Records of the Queen Victoria Museum 60: 1-30.

Piper, Katarzyna J. (2006). A new species of Palorchestidae (Marsupialia) from the Pliocene and early Pleistocene of Victoria. Alcheringa Special Issue 1: 281-294.

Piper, Katarzyna J. (2016). The Macropodidae (Marsupialia) of the early Pleistocene Nelson Bay Local Fauna, Victoria, Australia. Memoirs of Museum Victoria 74: 233-253.

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.

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

Prideaux, Gavin J. (2007). Megafauna, caves and climate: records from southern Australia. In: Cupper, M.L. & Gallagher S.J. (eds). Climate change or human impact? Australia's megafaunal extinction, Selwyn Symposium of the GSA Victoria Division, September 2007, Geological Society of Australia Extended Abstracts No. 79: 11-18.

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.

Reed, E. H. (2006). In Situ Taphonomic Investigation of Pleistocene Large Mammal Bone Deposits from The Ossuaries, Victoria Fossil Cave, Naracoorte, South Australia. Helictite 39(1): 5-15. [subfossil record]

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.

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. (1966). A review of the macropodid genus Sthenurus. University of California Publications in Geological Sciences 57: 1-72.

Turney, Chris S. M., Flannery, Timothy F., Roberts, Richard G., Reid, Craig, Fifield, L. Keith, Higham, Tom F. G., Jacobs, Zenobia, Kemp, Noel, Colhoun, Eric A., Kalin, Robert M. and Ogle, Neil. (2008). Late-surviving megafauna in Tasmania, Australia, implicate human involvement in their extinction. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 105(34): 12150-12153.

Van Huet, Sanja. (1999). The taphonomy of the Lancefield swamp megafaunal accumulation, Lancefield, Victoria. In: Baynes, Alexander and Long, John A. (eds.). Papers in vertebrate palaeontology. Records of the Western Australian Museum Supplement 57: 331-340.

Wakefield, Norman A. (1967). Preliminary report on McEachern's Cave, S.W. Victoria. The Victorian Naturalist 84(12): 363-383.

Wells, Rod T., Moriarty, K. and Williams, D. L. G. (1984). The fossil vertebrate deposits of Victoria Fossil Cave Naracoorte: an introduction to the geology and fauna. The Australian Zoologist 21(4): 305-333.

White, J. Peter and Flannery, Tim. (1995). Late Pleistocene fauna at Spring Creek, Victoria: A re-evaluation. Australian Archaeology 40: 13-17. [link to pdf copy at bottom of the page]


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