Kangaroos Did Not Always Hop

Kangaroos today are less than a third big as the extinct one, Image credit: Flickr user scottcalleja, via CC

Did you know that kangaroos did not always hop?

About 30,000 years ago some of them walked! Yes, they were so big (about three times as big as the kangaroos today) that they could only walk.

These giant kangaroos were maybe two meters tall and weighed 240 kilograms, as claimed by researchers of Brown University, USA who published their findings in a science journal yesterday. The US researchers studied the giant kangaroos’ hips, knees and bones in their ankle joints to conclude that they liked to walk more than hop.

Reconstruction of 240 kg Giant Kangaroo, By Brian Regal, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0109888.g001

Unfortunately this specie became extinct about 30,000 years ago. Perhaps they walked too slow and could not protect themselves from predators.

Now can you even imagine a koo koo kanga roo that would not hop! How boring would that be!

Reminds us of a great kids’ song “I Ain’t Gonna Hop Pop” by Don Spencer. The song is about a young kangaroo who refuses to hop and says this to his Dad:

You know, I ain’t gonna hop, Pop!
I really wish you’d stop, Pop,
Telling me I’ve got to hop like you.
All this hopping along doesn’t turn me on,
I’ve got better things to do.
I really wouldn’t mind flying high like an eagle,
Or swimming like a porpoise in the sea,
Yeah, but hopping’s a gig I really don’t dig.
It’s just not my scene – if you get what I mean.
I want to do my own thing, Pop.
I want to play rock ‘n’ roll!


Story Source:
Some parts of the above story are based on materials provided by Brown University. The reference article These roos were made for walking, study suggests was written by David Orenstein. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:
Janis CM, Buttrill K, Figueirido B (2014) Locomotion in Extinct Giant Kangaroos: Were Sthenurines Hop-Less Monsters? PLoS ONE 9(10): e109888. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0109888

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