Fossil sites and museums show the paleontological history of the plenty of unique species, only found in Australia. While there aren't as many as most think, the ones that are there have a lot more to offer than one would think. Some so unique, to be UNESCO world heritage sites.
The Australian landmass, having separated from the world a long long time ago, meant that most types of fossils found in Australia cannot be found in most other places in the world. These fossils can range from the dinosaur age, all the way to recent megafauna that went extinct only around 80,000.
The two sites of Naracoorte and Riversleigh were so special, even to the point where they're now UNESCO World Heritage Site. A third one; Nilpena Ediacara National Park, is on UNESCO's tentative list along with two other national parks in the Flinders Ranges.
New South Wales Edit
- 1 Australian Museum, 1 William St, Darlinghurst, ☏ . A museum full of fossils from all over Australia, with even some exhibits from all around the world.
- 2 Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum, 224 Howick St, Bathurst, ☏ . 9AM-4:30PM daily. Includes eyeball rare fossils, and even a fossil of a t-rex. Along with this, it has some fossils of dinosaur eggs, something very rare on top of all the fossils of other organisms.
- 3 Age of Fishes Museum, 129 Gaskill St, ☏ , firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 10AM-4PM (except Christmas and ANZAC Day morning). One of only two fish fossil museums in the world. A large number of prehistoric fish from the Devonian period are on display. Educational programs and tours are also held. Adults $10, Concession $8, Junior Students $5.
Northern Territory Edit
- 4 Megafauna Central, 21 Todd Street Mall, Alice Springs, ☏ . M, W-F 9AM-4PM, Sa Su 9AM-2PM. Closed Tuesdays. Museum rich with fossils of the great Megafauna from the nearby Alcoota fossil site. Free.
- 5 Australian Age of Dinosaurs, Lot 1 Dinosaur Dr, Winton, ☏ . 8:30AM-5PM. Has some fossils not found anywhere else, and includes some recreated models of dinosaurs, along with the traditional fossil gallery.
- 6 Riversleigh Fossils Centre, ☏ , 1300 659 660 (local rate call), fax: , email@example.com. Conveniently displaying the results of excavation at the World Heritage site. This is not to be confused with Riversleigh, where the original fossils were.
New South Wales Edit
- 1 Australian Opal Centre, 3/11 Morilla St, Lightning Ridge, ☏ . Has tours to some opalised fossils, often only a privilege only to opal miners.
- 2 Talbragar fossil site. Part of the Purlawaugh Formation, they are thought to be the remnants of sediments from a small freshwater lake, surrounded by forest, which existed about 175 million years ago when Australia was part of Gondwana. The site is the only Jurassic fish site known in New South Wales.
Northern Territory Edit
- 3 Alcoota, Anmatjere. One of only three known vertebrate fossil sites in the Territory, with fossils dating back to 8 million years ago, including some megafauna. Getting here is often difficult, but not to worry, some fossils found here can be seen in Alice.
- 4 Riversleigh. A rural area where fossils can literally be seen almost everywhere. Oh, and not to forget, it's also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Being one of the best-known fossil sites in Australia, fossils of different kinds of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish have been found at the site - most notably 35 bat species. Unlike most fossils in the world, the ones found here have retained their original structure, as they are embedded in soft uncompressed limestone.
- 5 Lark Quarry Dinosaur Trackways, Opalton, ☏ . 8:30AM-5PM. The site is believed to be the site of the world's only known record of a dinosaur stampede, with fossilised footprints are interpreted as a predator stalking and causing a stampede of around 150 two-legged dinosaurs.
- 6 Murgon fossil site. The only one site in AUS that has mammal fossils from the early part of the Tertiary Period and dated around 54.6 mi. yo.
South Australia Edit
- 7Nilpena Ediacara National Park (formerly Ediacara Conservation Park). This was the first time the fossilised remains of an entire range of soft-bodied creatures had been found anywhere in the world. Ever since 2021, it has been on UNESCO's tentative list.
- 8 Lake Callabonna. A dry salt lake with little to no vegetation and the location of a site where the “articulated skeletons of Diprotodon,” an extinct genus of marsupial, were found in the late 19th century. While most of the area is protected and is inaccessible to the public, some of the fossils can be found in the South Australia museum.
- 9 Naracoorte Caves National Park, Naracoorte, South Australia. UNESCO world heritage site. A range of 28 caves (although only 4 are open to the public) with numerous fossils found, with plenty of unique species only found here including some of the many Australian megafauna. It is also South Australia's only UNESCO world heritage site.
- 10 Maria Island National Park, Maria Island, Tasmania. A set of cliffs which include many different types of fossils washed up from the sea which were deposited in the sea around 300 million years ago.
- 11 Dinosaur Dreaming, Inverloch. The remains of early mammals, dinosaurs, and fossil bones of Cretaceous Age reptiles, birds, and fishes can be found at the Inverloch dig site. Australia's first dinosaur bone, the Cape Paterson Claw, was discovered near Inverloch near here, and date to the mid Cretaceous period.
- 12 Yea Flora Fossil Site. Contains some of the world's earliest vascular plants dating back to the late Silurian period, 420 million years ago.