03. Scott Hocknull - Dinosaur Man
Mt Etna RODENTS AND GHOST BAT
Images of Melomys (top left) and Rattus, © Queensland Museum; Melomys (middle) by Ian Seckington, Creative Commons licence BY-NC; Notomys by yewenyi, Creative Commons licence BY-NC; Pseudomys by Doug Beckers, Creative Commons licence BY-SA.
Rodents are one of the most abundant fossils found in the deposits, being the main prey of the owl and ghost bat.
The rainforest rodents include genera that are thought to have arrived in Australia only recently, within the last 10,000 years or so. However, the fossils at Mt Etna show that they were present in Australia at least 500,000 years ago and extended all the way down to Rockhampton.
After 205,000 years the typical rainforest rodents disappear. They are replaced by ones common in arid zones, such as Notomys, the hopping mouse.
Cranium, upper and lower jaw, and teeth of the Ghost Bat, Macroderma gigas. Images: Scott Hocknull, © Queensland Museum. Measurements are in millimetres. Illustration of Ghost Bat by artist J.T. Bauer, © Queensland Museum.
The Ghost Bat, Macroderma gigas is found throughout the entire sequence of fossil deposits at Mt Etna.
The Ghost Bat’s numbers stay relatively stable throughout time, even through major climatic changes. It seems that unless physical habitat destruction occurs for this species, it is relatively resistant to other changes. This does not account for the major reduction in its habitat range in the recent past. There are still some major issues that have to be solved for this amazing bat species.