Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Vombatiformes is one of the two suborders of the large marsupial order Diprotodontia. Five of the seven known families within this suborder are extinct; only the families Phascolarctidae, with the koala, and Vombatidae, with three extant species of wombat, survive.
Among the extinct families are Diprotodontidae , which includes the diprotodon, believed by many to be the inspiration for the bunyip. Vombatiformes is Latin for "wombat-shaped things", and took its name from its type family.
The suborder Vombatiformes, with its closely related members and their compact body form, contrasts with the only other diprotodont suborder, the large and diverse Phalangerida, including kangaroos, wallabies, quokkas, possums, gliding possum-like marsupials and others. The Koala and wombat are believed by many biologists to share a common ancestor and to have diverged only recently in the Cenozoic.
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