Yurlunggur is a genus of fossil snake in the extinct family Madtsoiidae. This genus was a part of the extinct megafauna of Australia, and contains the species Yurlunggur camfieldensis.[1][2]

Temporal range: Oligocene-Miocene, 23.03–11.608 Ma
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Madtsoiidae
Genus: Yurlunggur
Scanlon, 1992
Y. camfieldensis
Binomial name
Yurlunggur camfieldensis
Scanlon, 1992[1]

A large apex predator that seems to have been extant in the region since the Miocene epoch. It is described as a member of the family Madtsoiidae, that includes the species such as Wonambi naracoortensis, present in Australia until the Pleistocene.[3]

The name of the genus is derived from traditional name given by the people of Arnhem Land to the Rainbow serpent. They were large snakes, up to 6 metres long and 300 millimetres thick, that are more closely resemble Varanus (monitors) than small burrowing lizards. John Scanlon has presented this as evidence of descent from the former, rather than burrowing ancestors that evolved into the elongate and legless snakes. The fossil material described by this species includes a rare example of a complete skull and mandible, often crushed in the fossilisation process, that was preserved in the soft limestone of a body of fresh water. This was found at the Riversleigh fossil site in northwest Queensland.[4]


  1. ^ a b J. D. Scanlon. 1992. A new large madtsoiid snake from the Miocene of the Northern Territory. The Beagle, Records of the Northern Territory Museum of Arts and Sciences 9(1):49-60 "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 24, 2010. Retrieved June 29, 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ Yurlunggur in the Paleobiology Database
  3. ^ Hutchinson, Mark N.; Stephen C. Donnellan (1993). "26. Biogeography and Phylogeny of the Squamata". In C.G.Glasby; G.J.B.Ross; P.L.Beesley (eds.). Amphibia and Reptilia (PDF). Fauna of Australia. 2A (Online ed.). Australian Government Publishing Service. p. 15. ISBN 978-0-644-32429-8.
  4. ^ Salleh, Anna (16 February 2006). "Huge skulls clues to snake evolution". ABC Science Online. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2009-01-31.<paleodb.org/cgi-bin/bridge.pl?action=checkTaxonInfo&taxon_no=64893 Yurlunggur camfieldensis] in the Paleobiology Database