Thylacoleo: Herbivore or Carnivore?
Without a doubt, the extinct marsupial predator Thylacoleo was one of the strangest carnivorous mammals to have ever evolved. Instead of piercing the hide of its prey with large canines, Thylacoleo bit into prey with large, forward facing incisors, and it sheared flesh from its kills with huge, cleaver-like premolars. Even though it evolved from herbivorous ancestors, we now know that Thylacoleo was most certainly a carnivore.
The preferred diet of Thylacoleo has not always been so clear-cut, however. In 1859 the famed anatomist Richard Owen identified the fossil mammal as a carnivore – “one of the fellest and most destructive of predatory beasts” – and on the basis of a partial skull he proposed that Thylacoleo was closely