Diprotodon optatum Tooth Molar & Tusk measures 5.25 in. Diprotodon optatum Replicas are museum quality polyurethane cast. Made in USA.

Diprotodon optatum, also called Giant wombat, is an extinct genus of marsupial classified in the suborder Vombatiformes and considered to be the largest known group of marsupial mammals. Its name in Latin means “two forward teeth.”

Diprotodon optatum lived during the Pleistocene Epoch (2.6 million to 11,700 years ago) in Australia and is a close relative of living wombats and koalas.

Diprotodon stood about 6 feet tall at the shoulder and measured as much as 12 feet long. The largest specimens are thought to have weighed about 3 tons.

Diprotodon shares many skeletal, cranial, and dental features with its modern cousins, including two long forward-projecting lower incisors that occluded (that is, were brought into contact) with four square-shaped upper incisors.

Its molars and premolars had a series of lophs (ridges) running transversely from the cheek to the tongue. These structures likely provided a grating mechanism for chewing, such that Diprotodon crushed and shredded the plant material in its diet in a manner similar to that of modern kangaroos.

The skull was massive and narrow with an unusually large nasal aperture, suggesting that the animal had a large nose or, possibly, a short tapirlike trunk.

Diprotodon is often referred to as a giant wombat, and it had a rear-facing pouch similar to a wombat. However this prehistoric wombat was also closely related to modern koalas. Its nose was much like the koala’s nose.

Diprotodon optatum evolved from Euryzygoma about two million years ago, and later it may have diverged into as many as three species.

Because of its large size, Diprotodon is considered (along with rhinoceroses, elephants, hippopotamuses, and horses) to be a megaherbivore.

Megaherbivores on many continents became extinct during the late Pleistocene. Diprotodon is thought to have succumbed to hunting due to the expansion of Australia’s human population.

The last known occurrence of Diprotodon was some 46,000 years ago. Its demise was part of a more general extinction of large Australian mammals that occurred between 72,000 and 44,000 years ago, when 14 out of 16 large mammal genera became extinct.