Your donation will help ensure that Australia’s fossil, cultural and natural heritage is not lost to science or the Australian community but discovered, preserved and accurately documented for perpetuity.
Donate and become a supporter of the Outback Gondwana Foundation.
Scientists Dig Giant Mammal Fossils in Southwest Queensland
Palaeontologists, geologists and fossil enthusiasts are expecting to unearth extraordinary bones next week at one of Australia’s most impressive megafauna dig sites near Eulo, a small town in southwest Queensland.
On 10 June the Outback Gondwana Foundation (OGF), a scientific organisation based near Eromanga, will begin its third annual two-week excavation at a property near the town.
OGF Chairman Stuart Mackenzie said it was impossible to predict what the team would find underneath the clay at the dig. “We could find a range of significant fossils, even new species, but based on our previous digs it’s highly likely we will find more of the megafauna species we began to see in 2011,” Mr Mackenzie said.
He said in previous years OGF had unearthed well-preserved bones of the world’s largest marsupial, a giant extinct wombat called Diprotodon. Other megafauna species have helped paint a picture of what ancient life was like in the region. Teeth have been found from Megalania, the world’s largest lizard which was five to six metres long, from the Protemnodon or giant forest wallaby and Pallimnarchus, the giant inland freshwater crocodile.
“Once we finish the excavation the fossils will be transported in plaster casts to the Eromanga Natural History Museum field station near Eromanga where our bone preparators will prepare the bones for scientific study,” he said.
OGF Collections Manager Robyn Mackenzie and Lab Technician Tanya Hudson have been painstakingly preparing the bones found at last year’s dig.
“These are amazing fossils with beautiful preservation. It’s hard not to get excited about what we could dig up this year,” Mrs Mackenzie said. “We hope to find more fossils to add to the Foundation’s collection that will eventually be processed and conserved in the Eromanga Natural History Museum. It’s important for these nationally significant fossils to stay in the
regions, so they can be studied near where they were found and benefit the local communities,” she said.
Queensland Museum palaeontologist and Senior Curator Dr Scott Hocknull said the property near Eulo had one of Australia’s richest megafauna sites with a vast diversity of species and an abundance of fossil remains.
“This deposit represents the most highly concentrated accumulations of megafauna fossils I’ve ever seen, perhaps anywhere in Australia. The preservation is of such an exceptional standard at this particular site that the scientific and interpretative value is world class,” Dr Hocknull said.
“The fossils were discovered relatively easily over the past two years and in densities that have yet to be matched in our experience anywhere in Australia,” he said.
Thursday June 6, 2013