"...a creature so foul, and cruel that no man yet has fought with it and lived. Bones of full fifty men lie strewn about its lair ...therefore sweet knights if you may doubt your strength or courage come no further, for death awaits you all with nasty pointy teeth."
-Tim the Enchanter, The Holy Grail
The Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog, affectionately referred to by Monty Python fans as the Vorpal Bunny, may have had ancient marsupial kin in Australia. The BBC reports that paleontologists have unearthed a previously unknown species of "Killer Kangaroo."
"Fanged beasts : Professor Mike Archer said the dig had turned up 'truly extraordinary material'. He said the killer kangaroos would not have been like the creatures of today. 'There were meat-eating kangaroos with long fangs, and galloping kangaroos with long forearms, which could not hop,' he told The Australian newspaper."
Not that modern day Kangas are patsies. An Australian man who fended off a giant kangaroo with an Axe told the Bundaberg News-Mail last week "It was kill or be killed!" Still, the "Ravenous Roos of Riversleigh" and their Miocene ilk were by all appearance ferocious predators, loping on wolf-like forelegs and rending the flesh of their prey with massive jaws and sharp fangs.
Twelve million years ago, life in Australia was no picnic. Along with the malevolent marsupials, researchers have also discovered the bones of a giant thunder bird Bullockornis which they have dubbed the "Demon Duck of Doom." The Australian Museum On-line provides this image of a bird whose massive head and jaws have features which make some suspect it was a carnivore.
"The horror, the horror..."
Hat Tip to Never Yet Melted