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Re: Island-dwelling dinosaurs (was Re: Gargantuavis neck vertebra)

John Wilkins <john.s.wilkins@gmail.com> wrote:

> Forgive a non-biologist's input, but Australia has always had bats (both 
> Microchiroptera and Macrochiroptera, c15Mya) for a very long time,

Yes; Australia's oldest bat (_Australonycteris_) comes from the same
Murgon fossil site as _Tingamarra_, dated to the early Eocene (~55
mya).  In the paper describing _Tingamarra_, Godthelp &c are careful
to refer to it as the earliest *non-volant* placental.

> and also I think native rats (c5Mya; I saw one last year outside my back door 
> - about the size of an otter with a 12" tail; beautiful looking
> thing. They're mostly water rats, not domestic).

The native rats of Australia are indeed adorable - unlike their
disgusting ship-borne cousins that came much later.  The native rats
came over to Australia in the early Pliocene, IIRC.

There is currently a program to release native rats (called 'boguls')
in the leafier parts of Sydney, in the hope that they will outcompete
introduced black rats.