Riversleigh.JPG (26142 bytes)Riversleigh Fossil Site: is part of Boodjamulla National Park. This is one of the richest and most extensive fossil sites in the world. The Fossil Site has an area of 10,000 hectares and a small section is open to the public. There is an information centre modeled to resemble a rock outcrop. We visited the Site in July 2004. We were on a bus tour and on this part of the trip a qualified guide accompanied us. If you visit the Site try to go with a guide. Our guide brought the Site alive with his knowledge. Almost every rock contained fossils. We saw animal, bird and crocodile fossils.

The Site contains a bewildering array of animal and bird fossils. Platypus, turtles, crocodiles, fish, frogs, lizards, birds, kangaroos and bats are all represented in the deposits.

The photograph shows the fossil remains of a huge bird that resembled an ostrich on steroids. Known affectionately as Big Bird, this monster was 2.5 metres tall and weighed between 250 and 300 kilograms. Big Bird roamed the Riversleigh Site about 25 million years ago. The cluster, of stones, on the left, was from the birdís gizzard. Domestic fowls also have gizzards but on a much smaller scale. Gizzards grind up seeds so they may be digested. The bone on the right of the gizzard is a limb bone.

Riversleigh Fossil Site is worth a visit. Going with a guide will add another dimension to your visit.

An excellent book n the subject is: Riversleigh by Michael Archer, Suzanne Hand & Henk Godthelp. Published by Reed.

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