Megafauna Central showcases the unique megafauna that roamed Central Australia 8 million years ago.
Meet the world's largest bird and a fearsome crocodile from the Miocene epoch. Discover fascinating fossils and catch a glimpse of palaeontologists at work in the lab.
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Alcoota Scientific Reserve
Megafauna Central showcases the unique megafauna of Central Australia of the Miocene epoch from the Alcoota Scientific Reserve.
Alcoota is an exceptionally rich fossil site located about 150 km north east of Alice Springs, in the centre of Australia. It preserves the abundant bones of 30 species of animal, including many megafauna that were living in the heart of Australia in the late Miocene Epoch, about 8 million years ago when the Australian deserts were just beginning to form.
The fossils are spread over a 200 metre stretch of ground and include the remains of as many as 3000 individual animals that all came to be buried in the same place. Included among these animals was the world’s largest bird, a fearsome crocodile that would be more than a match for the biggest modern salty, marsupial ‘lions’, marsupial ‘wolves’ and herds of giant browsing wombat relatives.
What brought all these creatures to one spot and killed them? What can we learn from them about the evolution of Australia’s unique fauna? Come to Megafauna Central to uncover the mystery.
Australia's oldest Megafauna?
Enhancing the Megafauna story is a new display featuring fossils of the oldest Australian ‘megafauna’ from 450 million years ago. These fossils originated from central Australia when life was still almost entirely confined to the seas. On display are some of the very first animals to evolve to giant size long before animals trod the land and eventually evolve into the megafauna that is the focus of Megafauna Central. The display gives a fascinating insight into how these megafauna evolved, some even outgrowing the average human!
Join Tim, a young boy from Engawala on a time-travelling journey, as he encounters Australian Megafauna. Tim’s Journey Back in Time is an animated film produced in collaboration with the Engawala Women’s Art Group and Batchelor Institute. The story is inspired by the Alcoota fossil dig site, only a few kilometres from the Engawala community, and is a delightfully fun journey illustrated through original artwork and narrated in Eastern Anmatjere.