A fiery sunset lits the sky in the Australia of Middle-Pleistocene.
We’re walking in a filed near a group of red round rocks.
The grass is tall and arid and it cracks under our feet as we proceed.
Suddenly a large animal comes out the bushes and hops on top of a round rock in front of us.
It seems a mix of a tiger and a bear, but has some odd rodent like-teeth and some kinda human-like hands.
We’re facing the largest mammal predator in the continent: the Marsupial lion.
Now the creature is staring at us while snarling in a threat posture. Maybe it is defending it’s prey or perhaps it’s litter.

It is common to hear that Australia is a “dangerous place” to live in, according to the common belief that the land has a huge concentration of extremely dangerous animals. Back in the days, during the Pleistocene, this huge island was no less.

Among the predators you could bump into, around 200.000 years ago while taking a walk in the Outback, there was Thylacoleo carinfex, also called the “Marsupial lion”.
Thylacoleo carinfex was a huge marsupial that was about the same size of a modern jaguar or a small lioness. It was one of the largest land predators in Oceania.

In spite the name it was neither a felid nor a placental mammal.
It was a marsupial but somehow it shown some convergent cat-like traits.

Kinda cute, kinda spooky creature indeed!

Thylacoleo resembles in its appearance one of the criptids of Australian folklore: the drop bear, a sort of “carnivorous version” of koala.

Illustration realized for @paleostock.
Paleostock is a reality that provides scientifically accurate royalty-free paleontology images for all kind of projects.

Year: 2021

Client: Simone Zoccante / Diorama Nature

Software: Adobe Photoshop

Dimension (for Print): 50 x 50 cm @ 300 dpi

Dimension (in Pixel): 5906 x 5906 px

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All images Β© Simone Zoccante 2018-2023. Please do not reproduce without the expressed written consent of Simone Zoccante.
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