Remains Of An Extinct Lion Species Found In Outback Australia With 12 Inch Teeth

The species - called Lekaneleo roskellyae (an artist's impression of what the animal would have looked like is pictured) - roamed the north-west highlands of Queensland about 23million years ago

Researchers have found the remains of an extinct marsupial lion species in the Australian Outback. The species – called Lekaneleo roskellyae – roamed an ancient rainforest in the north-west highlands of Queensland about 23million years ago. It is one of the smallest lions ever discovered, and was about the size of a domestic cat. Lekaneleo roskellaye had razor-sharp teeth that were capable of slicing through the bones of its prey.

Lekaneleo lived in a lucious ancient rainforest. Today dry and barren bushland (pictured) has replaced it

University of New South Wales researchers Anna Gillespie, Michael Archer and Suzanne Hand discovered the remains in the Riversleigh World Heritage Area in Queensland – a site known for its fossils.

Artist Dorothy Dunphy's impression of Riversleigh ancient rainforest that was once roamed by the Lekaneleo millions of years ago

Dr Archer said the animal’s bone-slicing premolar teeth and small size set it apart from other genuses of marsupial lion. ‘This little guy that we’re calling Lekaneleo roskellyae… was one of the tiniest marsupial lions we’ve ever seen. It was actually like a pussy cat in size,’ Dr Archer told the ABC.

The best known species of marsupial lion, often seen in museums, is the Thylacoleo carnifex (pictured, what the animal is believed to have looked like) - the largest meat-eating mammal known to have ever existed in Australia

‘They had an extraordinary, elongated, bolt-cutting type of premolar. This was the most extraordinary adaptation or evolution that a carnivorous mammal has ever developed anywhere in the world.’