The research found that the male mated “competitively” to try to promote their own genes and that the “frantic” breeding caused infections, internal bleeding, a disintegration of body tissue and eventually death.

“Each mating can take 12 to 14 hours and they do this over and over again,” said biologist Dr Diana Fisher from the University of Queensland. “Even if they survived the breeding period, they would be infertile anyway… It’s a bit distressing to see them die.”

The new creature has been described as “striking”, with a “very shaggy, very hairy” body and long guard hairs.