In the Hall of Black Trees, a number of unusual animals are mentioned, animals that seem fanciful in the extreme.
In reality these animals actually once lived, forming part of what is now the extinct Australian Megafauna.
These were a fascinating collection of animals, much larger than current species as can be guessed by the name. They went extinct some 40,000+ years ago, roughly at the time man first arrived in Australia. Whether that had any effect on the extinction is a matter of much debate still.
Only a few of the species get a guernsey in this first story – others will be seen in later stories of Braega and Tudhala.
The Thunder Birds that chase Tudhala are, or were, a species called Dromornis stirtoni – Stirton’s Thunder Bird. They were a three metre, 500 kilogram flightless bird that was probably carnivorous. For the sake of a good story, I am saying they are meat eaters. A smaller species, the Bullockornis, is also know by the colourful moniker the Demon Duck of Doom.
Alia is of the species Thylacoleo carnifex – the Marsupial Lion. They were the largest meat eating mammals in Australia, and one of the largest in the world. The size of a leopard, they nevertheless possessed the strongest bite of any known mammal, living or extinct. A 100 kg Marsupial Lion would have had a bite the same strength as a 250 kg African Lion. Her colouration is of course made up, but taken from a picture of one I saw when writing the story.
The Diprotodon I have mentioned before, but I can’t go without mentioning it again. Imagine a wombat. Now imagine it scaled up to three metres long, two metres tall and weighing in at almost 3000 kilos. Basically a wombat the size of a rhinoceros.
The snakes and lizards also existed, including a giant carnivorous goanna that might have reached seven metres and 2000 kilos, the Bluff Downs Giant Python that grew up to ten metres long, and the quinkana fortirostrum, a crocodile which grew from five, to possibly seven metres in length.
All in all, a collection of rather large and defiantly dangerous animals. Perfect, in fact, for the Primal Tales series of stories.