BACKYARD SCIENCE

Starting your palaeoscience journey

INTRODUCTION TO FOSSILS

Fossils are the starting point of your palaeontology journey. 'Digging Palaeontology' offers an introduction to Palaeoscience and Australia's fossil heritage.

The Australian Museum has a great introduction to the formation of fossils. If you want to know how fossils are made, click here!

Australia has a rich fossil heritage and some of our sites are of 'Outstanding Universal Value' according to the UNESCO World Heritage List. To read about Australia's megafauna at Riversleigh and Naracoorte, click here

 

Other fossil localities within Australia are summarised here.

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IDENTIFYING YOUR FOSSIL

Identifying fossils can be very difficult, even for the experts!

 

Many resources exist online and in state geological surveys and libraries all around the country to help you understand your find. For some handy hints, click here

If your own search fails, ask an expert! The Australian Museum has a dedicated service to help you discover and learn. To find it, click here!

Alternatively contact your local state museum and send them your  fossil enquiries. See the list of state museums below:

NSW: Australian Museum

Queensland: Queensland Museum

Victoria: Museum Victoria

Tasmania: Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery

Northern Territory: Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory

South Australia: Southern Australian Museum

Western Australia: Western Australian Museum

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WHAT ARE THE RULES FOR FOSSICKING?

Fossicking in Australia is considered under State or Territory law. Consequently, acceptable practices vary from region to region within Australia.

Summary by region

New South Wales ✓

Northern Territory 

Queensland 

South Australia 

Tasmania

Western Australia 

The Australian Capital Territory has no specific legislation. The Nature Conservation Act (2013) prohibits the damage, destruction, or removal of materials, including clay, gravel, rock, sand, soil or stone, from reserved areas, such as national parks and nature reserves, which would preclude fossicking and prospecting activities in these locations.

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