Tags: micro | lion | sir david attenborough | extinct | marsupial

Micro Lion Sir David Attenborough Is Name Given to Extinct Marsupial

Image: Micro Lion Sir David Attenborough Is Name Given to Extinct Marsupial

Sketch of Microleo attenboroughi by Peter Schouten. (Screengrab of Twitter post)

By    |   Thursday, 25 Aug 2016 06:50 AM

Micro Lion Sir David Attenborough is the loose English translation of the name given to a cat-like marsupial after its fossil remains were found by paleontologists in Australia. Its formal name: Microleo attenboroughi.

The remains of the animal, believed to have lived about 18 million years ago, were discovered by a university team in the Riversleigh World Heritage Area in remote north-western Queensland, said the University of New South Wales.

Attenborough, who turned 90 in May, is best known for his influential wildlife programs on the BBC, including "Life on Earth," "The Living Planet," "The Trials of Life," "The Blue Planet," and "Planet Earth," noted the BBC News. British scientists are fond of naming things after him.

"The discovery team has named the new species Microleo attenboroughi for its small size and to honor the famous broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough, in recognition of his support for the Riversleigh World Heritage Area, which he has described as one of the four most important fossil areas in the world," said the university.

National Geographic said the micro lion belongs to an extinct prehistoric family that is closely connected to koalas and wombats. There are nine species in the family, including the Thylacoleo carnifex, which lived in Australia as recently as 46,000 years ago.

"The Microleo attenboroughi would have been more like the cute but still feisty kitten of the family," said Anna Gillespie, the lead author on the lion's study. "It was not lion-size or even bob-cat-size. Weighing only about 600 grams, it was more like a ringtail possum in size."

Researchers detailed the discovery of teeth and a partial skull of the micro lion in the science journal Palaeontolgia Electronica.

Gillespie said the lion lived in an area that was once a lush forest.

"Microleo shared these northern Miocene rain forests with two larger species of marsupial lion, one cat-sized and the other dog-sized," said Gillespie. "Although it is possible they competed with one other, the size differences probably means they each specialized on a different size range of prey."

"It's likely that Microleo scampered amongst the tree-tops, gobbling insects as well as small vertebrates such as lizards and birds while simultaneously trying to avoid becoming a prey item for its larger relatives."

Attenborough was recognized earlier this year when Britain's new polar research ship was named after him, despite a viral online poll suggesting the name Boaty McBoatface, noted BBC News.

© 2017 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 
1Like our page
2Share
TheWire
Micro Lion Sir David Attenborough is the loose English translation of the name given to a cat-like marsupial after its fossil remains were found by paleontologists in Australia. Its formal name: Microleo attenboroughi.
micro, lion, sir david attenborough, extinct, marsupial
406
2016-50-25
Thursday, 25 Aug 2016 06:50 AM
Newsmax Inc.
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved