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Riversleigh, Queensland

World Heritage Site


Riversleigh fossil site

Riversleigh fossil site ... discovering the secrets of the past

© Tourism Queensland

Fossils dating back to the Oligo-Miocene period some 15 to 25 million years ago can be found in Australia in the Riversleigh section of Boodjamulla National Park in Queensland.

  • The Oligocene is part of the Tertiary which includes the Eocene and Miocene and lies between these two geological epochs. The Pliocene comes after the Miocene. At the time of the Tertiary, dinosaurs had become extinct.

Prehistoric animals

Fossils discovered at Riversleigh include bones and teeth of extinct prehistoric animals such as huge flightless birds, marsupials and tiny bats.

Together with Naracoorte in South Australia, more than 2000 kilometres away, Riversleigh was inscribed as a World Heritage site in 1994 as representing a major stage of the earth’s evolutionary history, and an outstanding example of ongoing ecological and biological processes.

On-site viewing

The Riversleigh fossil mammal sites cover 10,000 hectares in the southern section of Boodjamulla National Park some 250 kilometres north of Mt Isa.

Riversleigh's D-Site is the only fossils deposit area which is open to the public, giving visitors a chance to to view fossilised mammals and reptiles in their actual locations.

Fossils centre

For those who do not plan to take the trip to Riversleigh's accessible sites, or who wish to have useful prior knowledge, a visit to the Riversleigh Fossils Centre at Mt Isa should be a matter of priority.

Information and displays at the fossils centre throw light into the earth's past from the time of the Oligocene epoch.

The centre is actually a one-stop shop not only for fossils and local information but also for souvenirs and gifts, a cafe, and tour bookings.

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