Research suggests that a species of now extinct giant kangaroos actually walked instead of bouncing, or hopping as modern-day kangaroos do.
An enormous kangaroo is a concept that many would find unique. Even more unique would be a kangaroo that isn’t just significantly larger than modern-day kangaroos, but also walks instead of hopping, or bouncing around like their contemporary counterparts.
Researchers have concluded that these enormous kangaroos which were found in the Australian outback some 100,000 years ago never actually bounced at all. In fact, the researchers believe they simply walked, like humans do.
That seems like it would be a successful combination though, right? The larger stature, plus the fact that they walked, instead of bounced, could make them a more viable threat on foot – especially given their size.
That just wasn’t the case. It was actually noted by the researchers that the kangaroos were wiped out for the most part by human hunters, which were able to easily out maneuver the slow, and large creatures. The research actually paints a picture of creatures that were largely clumsy, and quickly became a sitting target to well-adapted and agile hunters.
The reason for the differences in mode of transportation to modern-day kangaroos stems around the structure of the giant kangaroo itself. Researchers discovered that the hind limbs and spines of the creatures were significantly different than those of their modern-day contemporaries. What isn’t clear is whether the creature which weighed an estimated 550lbs was a walker by choice or by fate.
The researchers were unable to clearly identify the reason for their walking. It was either due to the fact that they were significantly larger by design, and that they were just not wired to hop in the traditional way that most are used to seeing kangaroos execute, or that they slowly grew over time, and eventually became too large to hop at all.
As the scientists continued to study these creatures, they actually found that they were significantly better suited for bearing the serious weight that the kangaroo bears, than actually hopping, and that if they did hop, it wouldn’t have gone well – at all.
This is an interesting find by scientists because it challenges a long standing theory that kangaroos have always hopped and moved around by the same means. When, in fact, that might not be the case at all.