New Records of Plio-Pleistocene Koalas from Australia: Palaeoecological and Taxonomic Implications

Price, GJ, Zhao, JX, Feng, YX and Hocknull, SA (2009) New Records of Plio-Pleistocene Koalas from Australia: Palaeoecological and Taxonomic Implications. Records of the Australian Museum, 61 1: 39-48. doi:10.3853/j.0067-1975.61.2009.1518


Author Price, GJ
Zhao, JX
Feng, YX
Hocknull, SA
Title New Records of Plio-Pleistocene Koalas from Australia: Palaeoecological and Taxonomic Implications
Journal name Records of the Australian Museum   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0067-1975
Publication date 2009-05-01
Year available 2009
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.3853/j.0067-1975.61.2009.1518
Open Access Status
Volume 61
Issue 1
Start page 39
End page 48
Total pages 10
Editor Shane F. McEvey
Place of publication Sydney Australia
Publisher Australian Museum
Language eng
Subject C1
049999 Earth Sciences not elsewhere classified
970104 Expanding Knowledge in the Earth Sciences
Abstract Koalas (Phascolarctidae, Marsupialia) are generally rare components of the Australian fossil record. However, new specimens of fossil koalas were recovered during recent systematic excavations from several eastern Plio-Pleistocene deposits of Queensland, eastern Australia, including the regions of Chinchilla, Marmor and Mt. Etna. The new records are significant in that they extend the temporal and geographic range of Plio-Pleistocene koalas from southern and southeastern Australia, to northeastern central Queensland. We provide the first unambiguous evidence of koalas in the Pliocene Chinchilla Local Fauna (phascolarctid indet. and Ph. ?stirtoni): important additions to an increasingly diverse arboreal mammalian assemblage that also includes tree kangaroos. The persistence of koalas and local extinction of tree kangaroos in the Chinchilla region today suggests that significant habitat and faunal reorganization occurred between the Pliocene and Recent, presumably reflecting the expansion of open woodlands and grasslands. Other koala records from the newly U/Th-dated Middle Pleistocene Marmor and Mt. Etna fossil deposits (Phascolarctos sp. and Ph. ?stirtoni), along with independent palaeohabitat proxies, indicate the former presence of heterogeneous habitats comprised of rainforests, open woodlands and grasslands. The lack of such habitat mosaics in those regions today is likely the product of significant Middle Pleistocene climate change.
Keyword SOUTHEASTERN QUEENSLAND
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Grant ID DP0881279
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: 2010 Higher Education Research Data Collection
Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis Publications
 
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Created: Thu, 03 Sep 2009, 17:55:13 EST by Mr Andrew Martlew on behalf of Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis