An order of marsupial mammals, containing about 10 living families and 117 living species, including most of the well-known marsupials of Australia (A) and New Guinea (NG).
Diprotodonts are characterized by the single pair of incisors in the lower jaws of most species. Most diprotodonts have three pairs of incisors in the upper jaw, except wombats which have only one.
The Diprotodontia were identified by American zoologist Theodore N. Gill, who took a break from ichthyology in 18721 to study mammals for awhile.
Diprotodonts have spread into great variety of ecological niches left open by the absence of placental mammals. A large number are arboreal, and several species have evolved a method of "gliding" from tree to tree. At the opposite extreme are the macropods, which have filled the roles of large grassland herbivores, analogous to the wildebeest of Southern Africa. For awhile, there was even a diprotodont carnivore.
- Family Acrobatidae (2, 2) (A+NG) (feathertail glider)
- Family Burramyidae (2, 5) (A+NG) (pygmy opossum)
- Family Ektopodontidae (- Miocene, EXTINCT)
- Family Macropodidae (11, 54) (A+NG) (kangaroos, wallabies, quokka)
- Family Miralinidae (-Miocene, EXTINCT)
- Family Petauridae (3, 10) (A+NG) (striped possum, wrist-winged gliders)
- Family Phalangeridae (6, 18) (A+NG) (brushtail possum, cuscus)
- Family Pilkipildridae (-Miocene, EXTINCT)
- Family Potoroidae (5, 9) (A) (rat kangaroo, potooroo, bettong)
- Family Pseudocheiridae (5, 14) (A+NG) (great glider, ringtail possums)
- Family Tarsipedidae (1, 1) (A) (noolbender)
1Gill, Theodore N., Arrangement of the families of mammals, With analytical tables. Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections, 230 (1872), p.1-98.
2These three extinct families are usually placed outside any suborder, but those that do place them place them in the Vombatiformes.
Animal Diversity Web, University of Michigan,
Mikko's phylogeny archive - Diprotodontia