SFS 3272: Marsupials of Australia

4 CreditsEnvironment

This course will focus on the evolution, biogeography, ecology, behaviour, and conservation of marsupials of Australia. Australia is one of the most ancient continents on our planet with geological features dating back to more than 1.7 billon years. Its history was influenced by long periods of isolation from other land masses while uplifts and erosion of mountains, forming, and disappearance of inland seas and cycles of fires, drought, cyclones, and flooding shaped this land. This long history resulted in a unique diversity of plants and animals. Ancient forms of mammals, such as egg-laying monotremes and some small marsupials lived amongst Australia’s dinosaurs about 110 million years ago and formed part of the ancient Gondwana fauna. After the extinction of the dinosaurs and when Australia finally broke away from Gondwana it took with it its unique array of mammals into isolation. Freed from the past dominating dinosaurs and finding themselves on a vast continent with no competing intruders, Australia’s ancient marsupials could thrive and diversify. Marsupial ‘hippos’, ‘rhinos,’ and ‘tapirs’ occupied the land while killer-kangaroos targeted the weakest of these herds of grazing marsupials.

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A- Average (3.718)Most Common: A- (69%)

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