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Tasmanian Devil Baby

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The roots of Australian marsupials are thought to trace back tens of millions of years to when much of the current Southern Hemisphere was part of the supercontinent of Gondwana; marsupials are believed to have originated in what is now South America and migrated across Antarctica, which had a temperate climate at the time. As soil degradation took hold, it is believed that the marsupials adapted to the more basic flora of Australia. According to Pemberton, the possible ancestors of the devil may have needed to climb trees to acquire food, leading to a growth in size and the hopping gait of many marsupials. He speculated that these adaptations may have caused the contemporary devil's peculiar gait. The specific lineage of the Tasmanian devil is theorised to have emerged during the Miocene, molecular evidence suggesting a split from the ancestors of quolls between 10 and 15 million years ago, when severe climate change came to bear in Australia, transforming the climate from warm and moist to an arid, dry ice age, resulting in mass extinctions. As most of their prey died of the cold, only a few carnivores survived, including the ancestors of the quoll and thylacine. It is speculated that the devil lineage may have arisen at this time to fill a niche in the ecosystem, as a scavenger that disposed of carrion left behind by the selective-eating thylacine. The extinct Glaucodon ballaratensis of the Pliocene age has been dubbed an intermediate species between the quoll and devil.

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