THE impact of climate change on Australia’s native bilbies and bandicoots has been featured in an article from a Victoria Park resident.
Western Australian Museum’s Mammals Curator Kenny Travouillon has had his work published on the cover of the prestigious Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.
Dr Travouillon worked with wildlife illustrator and paleo-artist Peter Schouten to create a beautifully detailed representation of the ancient bilbies and bandicoots in their Pliocene Epoch habitat, which took place between 5.3 to 2.6 million years ago.
He used information from the animals’ descendants and close relatives, as well as information about their habitat, to anticipate other characteristics such as what their fur colour might have been.
“Climate change has been a very important factor in the evolution of bilbies and bandicoots, placing a selective pressure for survival in a harsh, arid environment,” he said.
“While ancient primitive bandicoots were still around in rainforest on the east coast of Australia during the Pliocene Epoch, they became extinct in the Pleistocene (2.5 million to 12,000 years ago), a time commonly referred to as the Ice Age, as a result of climate change and loss of rainforest habitat.”
Dr Travouillon studied fossils from the now extinct marsupials that were loaned to the WA Museum from the collections of other museums across Australia.
The full scientific article can be found at http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/ujvp20/current.