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Functional pedal morphology of the extinct tree-kangaroo Bohra (Diprotodontia: Macropodidae)

Warburton, N.ORCID: 0000-0002-8498-3053 and Prideaux, G. (2010) Functional pedal morphology of the extinct tree-kangaroo Bohra (Diprotodontia: Macropodidae). In: Coulson, G. and Eldridge, M., (eds.) Macropods: The Biology of Kangaroos, Wallabies and Rat-Kangaroos. Collingwood, Victoria, CSIRO Publishing, pp. 137-151.

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Species in the extinct genus Bohra have been allied with living tree-kangaroos (Dendrolagus) on the basis of marked similarities in isolated craniodental and hind limb elements. Prompted by recent discoveries of the first near-complete Bohra skeletons in Pleistocene deposits in caves beneath the central Nullarbor Plain, south-central Australia, we compared the pedal morphology of tree-kangaroos with a range of terrestrial macropodines. Our objectives were to more clearly detail the key functional attributes of the Dendrolagus pes and to assess the likely arboreal adeptness of Bohra. Overall proportions of the calcaneum, talus, cuboid and metatarsals, as well as the morphology of their articular facets, suggest that the Bohra pes was specialised for enhanced mobility and flexibility, and thus well adapted to the functional demands of an arboreal environment. The presence of these Pleistocene species on the Nullarbor Plain indicates that tree-kangaroos had far broader geographic and climatic ranges than hitherto anticipated, and also demonstrates that the ‘Treeless’ Plain was not always treeless.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
Publisher: Collingwood, Victoria
Copyright: © 2010 CSIRO Publishing
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