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Bloodthirsty Killeroo terrorised Oz

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Giant murderous toothy kangaroos marauded across the Outback millions of years ago, palaeontologists have revealed.

The discovery was made, along with 20-odd other previously unknown species, during a dig in northwest Queensland by scientists from the University of New South Wales.

Researcher Sue Hand said the 'roos had "well muscled-in teeth, not for grazing. These things had slicing crests that could have crunched through bone and sliced off flesh".

Because of Australia's relative remoteness, marsupials were the only mammal group lucky enough make it there in pre-human days. The lack of competition from others allowed them to diversify to fill niches that might have been occupied by wolves or big cats elsewhere in the world.

Reuters has the chilling fossil evidence here.

Sadly for followers of the never-ending tussle between man, animal and manimal, the beast is long extinct having been around between 10 and 20 million years ago, so Steve Irwin will not be able to goad the Killeroo into having a scrap with him.

As well as the Killeroo - proper name Ekaltadeta - the team described a predatory bird the team excitedly dubbed the "demon duck of doom". ®

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