Chaeropus yirratji Travouillon et al., 2019

Yirratji, Northern pig-footed bandicoot, kanytjilpa/kandjilpa/kanjilpa/kantjilpa/kunjilba/kuntjilpa (Kartutjarra, Manytjilytjarra, Ngaanyatjarra, Ngaatjatjarra, Pintupi, Pitjantatjara, Wangkatjungka), takanpa (Kukatja, Pintupi, Warlpiri), kalatawirri (Walmatjari), kalatawurru (Kukatja), dubaija (Arrernte), marakutju (Pintupi, Wangkatjungka), parrtiriya (Kukatja), etara (Arabana, Dieri), walputju



Taxonomy & Nomenclature



Conservation Status


Last record: 1907 (specimen) (Ride, 1970:102,200; Travouillon et al., 2019, 2023); c. 1916 (specimen) (Burbidge et al., 1988); 1920 (Lake Eyre; unconfirmed) (Frith, 1979:306); 1926 ("by Pitjantjara men in the Musgrave Ranges" (Frith, 1979:306 (not very satisfactory); Flannery, 1990:50)); c.1958 (according to the Pintupi; Burbidge et al., 1988)


According to Ride (1970:102, 200), John McKenzie collected a specimen in 1907 for South Australian Museum (SAM) Director Dr. E. C. Stirling, which at the time was attributed to C. e. ecaudatus decades before the scientific description of C. yirratji. This is probably the 1907 record of "C. e. ecaudatus" that was widely reproduced (e.g. Flannery, 1990:48,50; Fisher & Blomberg, 2012; Lee et al., 2017), again all before the description of C. yirratji. The original scientific description of C. yirratji by (Travouillon et al., 2019) includes a discussion of a letter from John McKenzie to Museum Director Dr. E. C. Stirling regarding the collection of a specimen in 1907, and therefore represents the latest known specimen collected (Ibid.). Travouillon et al. (2019) state that the "SA Museum did not register specimens until 1910 and unfortunately, many specimens collected before that time have no associated data", meaning that Ride (1907: 102, 200) likely used this letter to ascertain the pre-1910 collection date of the McKenzie specimen, and therefore it was later independently discovered by (Travouillon et al., 2019), with some credence since they do not cite (Ride, 1970) in their paper and so were probably unaware of his prior discovery of the letter decades earlier.

Burbidge et al. (1988) state that a specimen was collected from Alice Springs c. 1916 (later in the paper they state that it was donated to the National Museum of Victoria; the implication is that it was both collected and donated in 1916), and that local aborigines, when questioned, claimed that it was "still around" about 30 years prior to 1988 (i.e. c.1958). Travouillon et al. (2019) list specimen NMV C5861 as having no known collection date, but having a "year on record" of 1916, which therefore likely refers to the same specimen.



Western Australia (eastern), New South Wales (extreme north-western), Northern Territory (southern), Queensland (extreme south-western) & South Australia (northern half), Australia (central)


Biology & Ecology




Holotype: NMV C468 (Beck et al., 2022:SM17)


Other specimens:

NMV C470 (Beck et al., 2022:SM17)

BMNH 1857.10.24.19 (Beck et al., 2022:SM17)






Original scientific description:

Travouillon, Kenny J. et al. (2019). Hidden in plain sight: reassessment of the pig-footed bandicoot, Chaeropus ecaudatus (Peramelemorphia, Chaeropodidae), with a description of a new species from central australia, and use of the fossil record to trace its past distribution. Zootaxa 4566(1): 1-69. [Abstract]

Other references:

NB: all of the references below relate to Chaeropus spp., but may not relate to this taxon.

Beck, Robin M. D., Voss, Robert S. and Jansa, Sharon A. (2022). Craniodental morphology and phylogeny of marsupials. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 457: 350 pp., 55 figures, 13 tables. [Supplemental Material]

Andrew A. Burbidge; Ken A. Johnson; Phillip J. Fuller, and R. I. Southgate. (1988). Aboriginal Knowledge of the Mammals of the Central Deserts of Australia. Aust. Wildl. Res. 15: 9-39.

Fisher, Diana O. and Blomberg, Simon P. (2012). Inferring Extinction of Mammals from Sighting Records, Threats, and Biological Traits. Conservation Biology 26(1): 57-67.

Flannery, Timothy. (1990). Australia's Vanishing Mammals: Endangered and Extinct Native Species. Sydney: RD Press. 192 pp.

Frith, H. J. (1979). Wildlife Conservation, revised edition. Angus & Robertson. xiv + 416 pp. [p. 304-306]

Lee, T. E., Fisher, D. O., Blomberg, S. P. and Wintle, B. A. (2017). Extinct or still out there? Disentangling influences on extinction and rediscovery helps to clarify the fate of species on the edge. Global Change Biology 23(2): 621-634.

Phillips, Matthew J., Cascini, Manuela and Celik, Mélina. (2022). Identifying Complex DNA Contamination in Pig-Footed Bandicoots Helps to Clarify an Anomalous Ecological Transition. Diversity 14: 352.

Price, Gilbert J., Cramb, Jonathan, Louys, Julien, Travouillon, Kenny J., Pease, Eleanor M. A., Feng, Yue-xing, Zhao, Jian-xin and Irvin, Douglas. (2020). Late Quaternary fossil vertebrates of the Broken River karst area, northern Queensland, Australia. In Papers in Honour of Ken Aplin, Louys, J., O’Connor, S. & Helgen, K.M., eds. Records of the Australian Museum 72(5): 193-206.

Travouillon, Kenny J. (2017). To document the diversity of bandicoots and bilbies through time and space. Report for the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust of Australia. 18 pp.

Travouillon, Kenny J., Johnson, K. A. and Burbidge, Alan A. (2023). Yirratji, Chaeropus yirratji, pp. 169-170. In: Baker, Andrew M. and Gynther, Ian C. (eds.). Strahan’s Mammals of Australia (4th ed.). Wahroonga, NSW: Reed New Holland Publishers. 848 pp.

Tunbridge, Dorothy. (1991). The Story of the Flinders Ranges Mammals. Kenthurst: Kangaroo Press. 96 pp. [p. 15, p. 19, p. 50]

Woinarski, John C. Z., Braby, M. F., Burbidge, A. A., Coates, D., Garnett, S. T., Fensham, R. J., Legge, S. M., McKenzie, N. L., Silcock, J L. and Murphy, B. P. (2019). Reading the black book: The number, timing, distribution and causes of listed extinctions in Australia. Biological Conservation 239: 108261.

Wood Jones, Frederic. (1924). The Mammals of South Australia. Part II. The Bandicoots and the Herbivorous Marsupials (The syndactylous Didelphia). Adelaide: Government Printer. 2: 132-270. [8 August 1924] [pp. 168-171]


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