The fossilised remains of giant lions and other ferocious monsters that once stalked the earth have been discovered in the Australian outback, scientists announced on Tuesday.

A wombat – a burrowing, pig-like marsupial that carries its young in a pouch – the size of a mini car and the world’s largest kangaroo were among the creatures unearthed in caves on the Nullarbor Plain, the vast desert stretching from Kalgoorlie in Western Australia to South Australia’s Gawler Ranges.

Some of the creatures are believed to be species never previously discovered.