Giant ‘Platapus-Zilla’ Fossil Found

Part of a Giant Platapus fossil fas been found in Austrailia. Scientists nicknamed it the ‘Platapus-Zilla’ because of its shear size. It can grow up to 1 metre in size. This creature seems to be a prehistoric version of our platapuses we have today.

Scientists investigated the fossil and it shows the humungus platapus would have lived between 5 and 15 million years ago.

Prof Mike Archer, from the University of New South Wales in Australia, said: “Suddenly up pops ‘playtpus-zilla’ – this gigantic monstrosity that you would have been afraid to swim with. It indicates there are branches in the platypus family tree that we hadn’t suspected before.”

Confusing

Nowadays, all that remains of this beast is a single fossilised tooth, which was unearthed in the Riversleigh fossil beds in northwest Queensland.

Based on its size, the researchers have estimated that the new species (Obdurodon tharalkooschild) would have been at least twice as large as today’s platypus.

Bumps on its teeth and other fossil finds nearby suggest that the creature feasted all kinds of species of crustaceans, turtles, frogs and fish.

Although the area where the molar was found is a desert, millions of years ago it would have been covered in forest. The researchers think the creature would have spent its time in and around freshwater ponds.

Prof Archer said that only one tooth, it was difficult to work out exactly what this species would have looked like.

Not very many platypus fossils have been found and so researchers have difficult time getting a full picture of the creature’s full history and personallity.

Prof Archer said: “The discovery of this new one was a bit of a shock to us. It was a wake-up call that the platypus’s story, the more we know about it, is increasingly more complicated than we thought.”

The researchers are now despratly hoping to find more giant platypus fossils in the same area to try and shed more light these unusual and rare finds of fossilised Australian creatures.

Click here to see the original report at the Newsround website.