Legendary large reptile or Marsupial of Australia.
Etymology: Dieri (Australian) word. Variant name: Kadimurka. Physical description: Reptilian monster. Horn on its forehead.
Habitat: Marshes and water holes. Distribution: Lake Eyre, South Australia. Significant sighting: Said by the Aborigines to have lived in the Dreamtime, the mythical period when the world was created. Possible explanations:
(1) A memory based on the Saltwater crocodile (Crocodylusporosus) that formerly lived along the southern coast.
(2) A surviving Diprotodon optatum, a fossil marsupial (the largest known) that lived from 2.5 million years ago to as recently as 6,000 years ago. It was the size of a modern rhinoceros, about 10 feet long. Its heavy skull, nearly 3 feet long, featured massive jaws and a large lower incisor. Its bones have been found frequently near Lake Eyre and Cooper Creek, South Australia. Diprotodon fossils at Riversleigh, Queensland, bear marks suggestive of butchery by prehistoric tribes.
Sources: John Walter Gregory, The Dead Heart of Australia: A Journey around Lake Eyre in the Summer of1901—1902 (London: John Murray, 1906), pp. 3-4; Patricia Vickers-Rich and Gerard Van Tets, eds., Kadimakara: Extinct Vertebrates of Australia (Lilydale, Vic., Australia: Pioneer Design Studio, 1985), pp. 240-244.
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