Investigating the extinction of Australia’s marsupials

45,000 years ago, the vast majority of large marsupials vanished from Australia, forever. What led to their extinction? PhD student William Parker seeks to answer this question, by investigating these animals’ biology and interaction with the environment.

"I've wanted to be a palaeontologist since about the age of four. It amazes me how little we know about the lives of the biggest extinct marsupials,” said William.

William Parker, aged four

“My research involves investigating their teeth and correlate trace elements with their developmental life history. I’m hopeful my PhD will help us better understand how factors like weaning age, growth rate, and life span contributed to their extinction.”

William was offered the Monash-Museums Victoria scholarship to support his research. Museums Victoria offer scholarships and support for research projects with direct links to their collection. This partnership with Museums Victoria provided him with access to high quality research materials and specimens, and supported in the preparation of fossil specimens.

“The paleontological collection at Museums Victoria is a phenomenal resource! I was also given the opportunity to be involved in public outreach with Museums Victoria. I was a speaker at the annual Extinct - The Lancefield Megafauna festival and guest presented at one of the Nocturnal Nights at the museum,” he said.

William Parker, PhD student

Monash’s partnership with Museums Victoria is only one of the many benefits for William, being a Monash student. Our leading research in the field of palaeontology and provision of world-class research facilities is helping William achieve research excellence.

"I still have a fair way to go into my PhD, and I believe my passion for the project and excellent supervisors here will carry me through."