The Riversleigh Fossil Centre educates and
interprets for visitors the fossils extracted from the nearby
Riversleigh fossil fields. These finds have
been depicted as dioramas and exhibited in an authentic setting to
illustrate the unique discoveries in one of the world's richest fossil
fields. Unlike many other fossil deposits, the
Riversleigh fossils are not just a snapshot in
time, but a window on the development of early mammal megafauna over the
past 30 million years.
Riversleigh Fossil Centre is unique among
centres offering 'fossil tourism'.The Riversleigh
fossil deposit is the richest and one of the most important fossil
fields in Australia .
Family: $35.00 (2 adults + 2 children)
Group Prices available.
Opening Times: 8.30am - 5.00pm daily.
(Closed Christmas Day and Good Friday)
ANNUAL RIVERSLEIGH DIG
In North-West Queensland, on a remote plateau of a cattle station called
Riversleigh, explosives, sledgehammers and crow bars have enabled a diverse
collection of prehistoric animals to see the light of day for the first
time in approximately 25 million years. From hard, razor edged limestones
scientists have recovered the remains of more than a hundred different
species from one of the world's richest fossil deposits. Many are new to
science, some were evidently ancestors of creatures now living; others were
unique and even bizarre.
The Riversleigh discoveries have already more than doubled the sum of
knowledge about the history of Australia's unique fauna. In addition,
because of the diversity of ages represented among the discoveries, the
Riversleigh deposits are providing a rare opportunity to trace the
discoveries of this fauna over the past 25 million years of history.
A brief summary of initial discoveries:
W.E. Cameron reports discovery of fossil bones at Riversleigh. For various
reasons this early discovery was not immediately followed up.
Richard Tedford and Alan Lloyd collect four new animals from what they
recognised to be middle Miocene limestones on Riversleigh.
Alan Bartholomai of the Queensland Museum collected vertebrates from
Riversleigh and spotted new fossil mammals in inaccessible positions on
Work began on the area starting with Tedford's "D-Site".
"Microsite", a patch of light coloured limestone that was the first
Riversleigh deposit known to contain small mammals, including bats, was
Examination of high-altitude colour photographs led to the suggestion that
more of the strangely coloured limestone might occur in a more remote part
of Riversleigh Station.
The year of the first real breakthrough with the discovery of "Gag-Site".
About 4 tonnes of limestone was collected and subsequently over 50 new
species of mammal were recovered from this area alone.
Even more successful than 1983, over 12 tonnes of limestone were collected
from more than 15 different sites.
The discoveries came thick and fast. In summary, this year added at least
ten million years of history to the Riversleigh story as well as a
fundamental new understanding about its significance.
Work continues at Riversleigh with fossil digs each year, and the unique
treasury of Australian prehistory entombed in the rocks of Riversleigh is,
for all practical purposes, without visible limits. Reports on recent digs
can be found here .