Close to the cool highlands of the Snowy Mountains in South East Australia, lies an enchanted secret world where a group of very special creatures, the bare nosed or common wombats make their home. Shy and elusive, the wombats may appear to be hidden from view – but this quiet wood is alive with scenes of marsupial friendship, new life, burrow hopping and wombat disagreements.
Runtime: 60 minutes
Secret Life of the Wombat - Diprotodon - Netflix
Diprotodon, meaning “two forward teeth”, is the largest known marsupial to have ever lived. Along with many other members of a group of species collectively known as the “Australian megafauna”, it existed from approximately 1.6 million years ago until extinction some 46,000 years ago (through most of the Pleistocene epoch). Diprotodon species fossils have been found in sites across mainland Australia, including complete skulls and skeletons, as well as hair and foot impressions. Female skeletons have been found with babies located where the mother's pouch would have been. The largest specimens were hippopotamus-sized: about 3 metres (9.8 ft) from nose to tail, standing 2 metres (6.6 ft) tall at the shoulder and weighing about 2,790 kilograms (6,150 lb). Aboriginal rock art images in Quinkan traditional country (Queensland, Australia) have been claimed to depict diprotodonts. They inhabited open forest, woodlands, and grasslands, possibly staying close to water, and eating leaves, shrubs, and some grasses. The closest surviving relatives of Diprotodon are the wombats and the koala. It is suggested that diprotodonts may have been an inspiration for the legends of the bunyip, as some Aboriginal tribes identify Diprotodon bones as those of “bunyips”.
Secret Life of the Wombat - Human hunting - Netflix
The overkill theory is that human hunters killed and ate the diprotodonts, causing their extinction. The extinctions appear to have coincided with the arrival of humans on the continent, and in broad terms, Diprotodon was the largest and least well-defended species that died out. Similar hunting-out happened with the megafauna of New Zealand, Madagascar and many smaller islands around the world (such as New Caledonia, Cyprus, Crete and Wrangel Island), and at least in part, in the Americas—probably within a thousand years or so. Recent finds of Diprotodon bones which appear to display butchering marks lend support to this theory. Critics of this theory regard it as simplistic, arguing that (unlike New Zealand and America) there is little direct evidence of hunting, and that the dates on which the theory rests are too uncertain to be relied on. However, the high-resolution chronology of the changes supports the hypothesis that human hunting alone eliminated the megafauna.
Secret Life of the Wombat - References - Netflix