The newly discovered fossil of Brindabellaspis, a fish with a platypus-like snout, reveals that coral reefs have long been evolution hotspots.
Meet two of Australia’s ancient snakes, Yurlunggur and Wonambi.
Kenny Travouillon, the curator of mammology at the Western Australian Museum, has been studying the ancient ancestry of bilbies and bandicoots for ten years. Through the rigorous analysis of extensive fossil records from Museums all across Australia, he’s grown more wary of the future of these iconic Aussie animals.
Scientists have been shocked to find fossils belonging to the pygmy right whale—typically confined to the Southern Hemisphere, in parts of Italy and Japan.
How did dinosaurs evolve beaks and become birds? Scientists think they have the answer.
Australia was a wet and wild place in the Cretaceous Period (145-65 million years ago), and not a safe spot for a dip in the sea. It was closer to the South Pole, but a warmer world meant temperate regions stretched further south than today. The Eromanga Sea covered much of Queensland; this body of water was so vast at one point that it extended into South Australia, splitting the continent. While dinosaurs held sway on the land, exotic reptiles flourished in the inland sea. Four major groups dominated. Ichthyosaurs were dolphin-like predators with four flippers and a vertical tail fin. Sea turtles were represented by four known species, one of which was a 4m giant. Plesiosaurs had four flippers, but two different body types: large-headed, small-necked forms (called pliosaurs); and small-headed, long-necked forms. Neck length was taken to extremes in one group, the elasmosaurs. Mosasaurs, which didn’t appear until about the time that ichthyosaurs became extinct and the Eromanga Sea retreated, were long-bodied predators related to snakes and monitor lizards. Of these four diverse and successful groups, only the turtles remain in the oceans. Text by Maria Zammit