Phonetic: Zah-glos-sus hak-et-ti.
Named By: L. Glauert - 1914.
Classification: Chordata, Mammalia, Monotremata, Tachyglossidae.
Species: Z. hacketti (type).
Size: Estimated about 1 meter long.
Known locations: Australia, Western Australia - Mammoth cave.
Time period: Pleistocene.
Fossil representation: Partial post cranial remains including ribs.
only known from partial post cranial remains, these fossils have been
reconstructed to form an echidna that in life was about one meter
long. This makes Zaglossus hacketti the largest
monotreme mammal to
exist that we know about. Zaglossus hacketti is
one species of the
Zaglossus genus of echidnas, which includes
species living today
called the long beaked echidnas because of the shape of the snout.
However, at the time of writing there are no known fossils of the
skull of Zaglossus hacketti, meaning a
classification within the
Zaglossus genus is uncertain until a potential
future fossil discovery
can prove the issue one way or another.
Fossils of Zaglossus hacketti have been found with chips and burn marks upon them, indicating that the holotype individual was killed and then cooked by early aboriginal people. A combination of hunting and habitat change brought about by the arrival of the first aboriginal people in Australia has been blamed for much of the disappearance of the megafauna of Australia towards the end of the Pleistocene period. Apart from this evidence of cooking, rock art has also been documented which shows drawings of animals that look much like what we would expect Zaglossus hacketti to look like, further indicating that this large monotreme was known to the aboriginal people.
- Taxonomy and detailed description of Zaglossus hacketti. - Records of the Western Australian Museum 1(3):244-248. - L. Glauert - 1914.