100 Years of Geosciences

Queensland Museum South Bank and the Sciencentre are closing for renovations on 3 October 2011.

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This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Queensland Museum’s fossil collection.

On 25 May 1911, Museum scientists registered the first fossil into a separate collection. Before this, fossils were registered in the main collection along with everything from worms to whales. This original fossil, known as QMF1, became the first of many tens of thousands of specimens held in the collection.

Many of the Museum’s fossils are of national and international significance. They include the dinosaurs, Rhoetosaurus (discovered in 1926), Muttaburrasaurus (1962) and Minmi (1964), and the marine reptiles Kronosaurus (1924) and Eromangasaurus (1979).

The collection also contains hundreds of thousands of smaller animal and plant fossils that represent internationally important groups, such as ammonites and trilobites.

One of the highlights of the collection are the exquisitely preserved remains of many prehistoric mammals unique to Australia, including ancient koalas, kangaroos and marsupial lions from the World Heritage Fossil Mammal site of Riversleigh, in Far North Queensland.

The Queensland Museum’s fossil collection is material evidence of more than 1.7 billion years of the State’s ancient history and forms the basis of scientific research that helps us understand changing climates, extinctions and evolution.

The Museum’s fossil collection is the largest collection of its type in Australia.

Building the collection 

Once collected, each fossil is given a unique number that is written on, or attached to, the specimen. A corresponding number and collection information is entered into a register, such as the one shown here, using Indian Ink on long-life parchment.

Today the process of fossil registration also uses more modern technologies, with computer databases used to print specimen labels, and store and retrieve information on the millions of specimens in the museum collection.

Our fossil collections range in size from microscopic fossil pollens, which tell us about the vegetation in the ancient geological epochs, all the way up to dinosaurs, many of which ate this vegetation.

The Queensland Museum’s Geosciences Program is based at an offsite laboratory and storage facility at Hendra in Brisbane. Here, the Museum’s scientific, technical and collection management team curates, studies and reconstructs ancient animals from their bones and other fossilised body parts.

Visit our display on Level 2 featuring a selection of fossils from the collection including: 

  • Fossil crab, Homolopsis etheridgei from Central Western Qld Cretaceous Period, c. 100 million years.
  • Theropod dinosaur footprint. Ispwich, South-east Qld. Late Triassic Period, c. 205 million years.
  • Pliosaur skull. Kronosaurus queenslandicus, Hughenden, North-west Qld. Cretaceous Period, c. 110 million years.
  • Crocodile. Pallimnarchus pollens, Landsborough Station, Central Qld. Pleistocene Epoch, c. 50,000 years.

Event Details

27 May 2011 - 02 October 2011

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