Back as in fossils of a new platypus species, that is! Obdurodon tharalkooschild is being nicknamed Godzilla Platypus due to the large size of the extinct platypus, 1 meter long. This makes it twice as long as living platypi, and longer than any known extinct platypus species.
Even more remarkable, all this information about Obdurodon tharalkooschild comes from just one molar. Now, modern platypus do not have teeth, but other extinct species do, including Obdurdon dicksoni, and from examining the size of the molars and extrapolating, the paleontologists were able to come up with Obdurodon tharalkooschild‘s size estimate. It is believed that O. tharalkooschild lived between 5 million and 15 million years ago, but a more exact time period cannot be determined at this time.
The structure of the tooth suggests the animal was capable of eating not only the small insects and crayfish on which modern platypuses dine, but also small vertebrates such as certain fish and amphibians, and even small turtles, the team reports.
That expanded diet is also interesting news, and puts a new perspective in what ecological niche older platypus species served.
The full paper will be published in the November 12th issue of Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology