Learn about the evolutionary history of the kangaroo, the only large mammal that hops, in this video excerpt from NOVA. Host and scientist Richard Smith explores how kangaroos may have evolved from tree-loving, possum-like ancestors. Mammalogist Tim Flannery describes his discovery of an ancient ankle bone that may be the key to figuring out the kangaroo story. The shape of the bone locks the ankle bone together; an ankle that is less flexible and does not twist upon impact may explain the evolution of hopping. The musky rat kangaroo is the closest surviving relative to the first kangaroo and seems more like a possum than a kangaroo.
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