views updated

Macropodidae (kangaroos, wallabies; order Marsupialia (or Diprotodontia), superfamily Macropodoidea) A family of herbivores in which the lower incisors are directed forward and can be moved against one another like shears, the molars are modified for intensive grinding, and the stomach has a sacculated, non-glandular, rumen-like chamber containing symbionts. The ilia and thigh muscles are modified for bipedal motion and the fourth metatarsal is elongated. Kangaroos and wallabies are mainly terrestrial, but in the semi-arboreal tree kangaroos the fore limbs are almost as long as the hind limbs. There are about 60 species, all native to Australia and New Guinea.