Fossils

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A prehistoric scene showing ancient penguins, elephant seals and giant marsupials. A rich diversity of both marine and land creatures once lived at Beaumaris, Melbourne, about 7 million years ago. Peter Trusler, Monash University

We need to protect the fossil heritage on our doorstep

Palaeontologists say it's rare to find a rich fossil site in an urban area. That's why they're worried such a site near Melbourne could be threatened by proposed development.
Spectacular landscape of the Nuweveld escarpment showing exposures of the Beaufort Group. SUPPLIED

Why South Africa’s Karoo is a palaeontological wonderland

The Karoo provides not only a historical record of biological change over a period of Earth’s history but also a means to test theories of evolutionary processes over long periods of time.
A great white shark captured off the coast of Mexico. Flickr/Brook Ward

No bones about it: sharks evolved cartilage for a reason

We used to think of sharks as primitive fish because the had cartilage instead of bones. Turns out there was a good reason why and it makes them anything but primitive.
A bull male Eastmanosteus placoderm. Placoderms were the first creatures to evolve paired reproductive organs with a bony skeleton called claspers. Brian Choo & John Long, Flinders University.

The first vertebrate sexual organs evolved as an extra pair of legs

We humans use the euphemism for sex that “we like to get a leg over” but the first jawed vertebrates – the placoderms – they liked to get a leg in. They were the first back-boned creatures to evolve male…
The Lark Quarry dinosaur trackway is the world’s only fossilised dinosaur stampede. But the fossils could fetch a lot of money if sold, so how do we keep them safe? AAP/Tourism Queensland

It’s time to stop the fossil trade in its tracks – and here’s how

Collecting fossils helps raise interest in palaeontology and the natural history of Australia, and many important fossil discoveries have been made by members of the public collecting unusual specimens…

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