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Dr Derek Muller So the youngest diprotodons to be found here would be seventy or eighty thousand years ago?Assoc Prof Rod Wells Yeah, in other words, they would have vanished from here before humans.Palaeontologist Rod Wells has spent a lifetime intrigued by Australia's extinct megafauna - massive animals that once roamed this land. It was in a layer at the bottom of the gully that the diprotodon skeletons were found. Assoc Prof Rod Wells We're very fortunate and we've got a group of volunteers that are putting in their time to spend the endless hours cleaning and soaking the bone. Anja Taylor Yeah, it stretches across the whole thing.
You know, they very rapidly erode and it's in these layers, in these banks, that we find the remains of these giant extinct marsupials. You know, perhaps a big male and a harem of females and a few young, and they'd be going along and just hooking these shrubs out of the ground with those big incisor teeth, and munching them up. So this is one of many sites scattered along the ranges here. So how do I know I've got the dirt off and not the bone? The sediment is more key to trying to understand the age of these animals throughout this region.Dr Derek Muller This sounds incredibly complicated. NARRATIONWhile we'll have to wait for a definitive date on the bones, Rod's beginning to formulate his theory.Dr Nigel Spooner They're pretty developmental, they're not simple. Dr Derek Muller When are you going to be able to give us an age? Dr Derek Muller It seems like in these debates, everyone wants a simplistic answer - it's one thing or another or a little combination.And you know, my hunch is you probably had events that wiped out local populations and reduced the population, overall, to sizes where they became vulnerable to these other changes.Dr Derek Muller So you think here, these diprotodons may have been part of a last stand? I think probably the last stand of the megafauna in this region, is of the order of seventy, eighty thousand years ago.