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insectivore, Out-of-scale, Lazarus taxon, Featured in Native folklore
Zaglossus hacketti was a species of echidna that inhabited Western Australia, and probably other areas of Australia in the Pleistocene. They reached as much as 3.5 feet long and 65 pounds. Although they’re generally accepted to have gone extinct about 10,000 years ago, there are still occasional sightings. In 2001, a biologist from the University of Adelaide, Kristofer Helgen was told by a 90-year-old aboriginal woman that there used to be enormous echidnas the size of dogs from where she lived in Kununurra, in the East Kimberly region of Western Australia.
On March 2nd, 2019, cryptozoologist and Fortean researcher Lon Strickler received an Email from an anonymous person who claimed to have seen a Zaglossus hacketti in the Tinderbox Forest in Tasmania in 2008. The emailer claimed that when they were walking up a hill, they saw a large black animal on the road about 150 feet away. He assumed it was a wombat, but when he got closer he realized it was a massive echidna, noting its distinctive long snout and spines. It was about 3.5 feet long and 50 cm wide. He didn’t realize what he saw was an unidentified animal until years later when he found out that the only echidna species that was ever that large was extinct, and wasn’t even thought to have lived in Tasmania.