Exciting discoveries were made at the August 2017 Lightning Ridge Fossil Dig, when 26 AG readers joined the Australian Opal Centre and the AG Society. Findings included opalised pine cones, yabby buttons, fish and turtle bones and tantalising remnants of plesiosaurs and both herbivorous and carnivorous dinosaurs. Bone from two large dinosaurs – including an intriguing piece of skull – are now being studied. Other finds included a particularly well-preserved opalised elasmosaur tooth and a possible mammal tooth. Mammal teeth from the age of dinosaurs are rare in Australia, with every find resulting in new scientific information. To join us next year, click HERE.
Lightning Ridge has the greatest number and diversity of opalised fossils in Australia. It is one of the most productive and scientifically significant fossil sites in the country, and the only major site in NSW with dinosaurs. Three Australian dinosaur species have been described from Lightning Ridge material, but there are many more dinosaur specimens in the AOC collection that have not yet been studied or named. Other fossils include: turtles, crocodiles, fish, birds, early mammals, mussels, snails, giant marine reptiles, pine cones, plant stems and seeds. The Australian Opal Centre has 4000 or more fossils in its collection, worth an estimated $3 million, but with Jenni and Elizabeth the only palaeontologists on site, much of it has yet to be studied.
Despite her severe disability, Eleanor Beidatsch hopes to embark on an AGS expedition to the opal town of Lightning Ridge this August.