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Finding Fossils

  • If you were to search for gold, you would look in an area where gold has already been found, right?   Hunting for dinosaur fossils is the same. The process of looking for fossils is called prospecting, just like it is for gold. There are numerous places throughout Australia where you can search for fossils.  Trust us, there will be some left for you to find!  

  • In Victoria, most of the fossil areas are along the coast.  The Bass Coast from San Remo to Inverloch has been dated at 126 million years, and the Otway Coast along the Great Ocean Road goes back to 106 million years.  Some amazing discoveries have been made in these coastal areas.

  • In New South Wales, you can find fossils in areas around Lightning Ridge.  Some of these fossils have even been opalised!  Some very exciting discoveries have originated from this area, such as the Lightning Claw, Australia's largest predator, that we know of so far.

  • In Western Australia there are dinosaur trackways and fossils in and around Broome, and down towards Carnarvon.

  • In South Australia, you can find some fossils around Coober Pedy.  If you are extra lucky, you might even find some opals here as well!

  • Queensland has some of the best fossil hunting in Australia.  Most of outback Queensland contains fossils of some sort.  From Richmond down through Winton to Eromanga, and over to Diamantina.  Large aquatic reptiles and the titans of the cretaceous, sauropods, have all been found throughout this area, and are still being found today.  Until recently, Lark Quarry was the world's only known record of a dinosaur stampede with over 3,000 fossilised footrprints from around 150 dinosaurs!  A recent study suggests the footrptins are more likely from swimming and wading, not dinosaurs running and crossing a river.  Personally, we like the stampede story better

  • No dinosaurs have been found yet in Tasmania.  

  • Much of outback Queensland and parts of northern New South Wales were covered by an inland sea during the Cretaceous.  This is why they find massive sea creatures, as well as the huge saurpods in the same area.

  • We've included some links here to some of the best places to go for fossil information.

  • Below, we're going to give you some basic information about fossils in Queensland and Victoria.  We will add more locations as we expand our site.

Victoria

Fossil hunting in Victoria can be dangerous because of the often harsh coastal areas where the fossils are.  The Bass Coast from San Remo to Inverloch has produced an incredible amount of dinosaur fossils including Megaraptoran carnivores, herbivorous Ornithopods as well as flying pterosaurs, aquatic plesiosaurs, numerous turtles and the strange tadpole–like giant salamander Koolasuchus.(it resembles an oversize Mexican walking-fish, or axolotl!)

The Otway Coast has also revealed a wide range of dinosaur fossils from various localities including Marengo, Point Lewis and Point Franklin. An intensive excavation at Dinosaur Cove in the 1980's resulted in the discovery of Leaellynosaura and Timimus but the dig at that remote site is now closed, and the focus of research is on a 'newly' discovered site called Eric The Red West. near Cape Otway. 

Many of the fossils you will find will be embedded in the rocks, and will need to be cut out with tools and a permit.  

It's not just fossils you might find though, as the video here will show you.  There are a range of dinosaur footprints waiting to be found as well.  The footprints in this video are thought to have been made by a large carnivorous dinosaur, although no fossils that match the footprint have been found in Victoria.  As these footprints show, just because their fossils haven't been found, doesn't mean they weren't here!

You can find this video with sound in our videos section.

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Victoria

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Spotting dionaur fossils in the rock is actually harder than it sounds.  It is a good idea to go out with someone who knows what to look for.  Once you have found the right layer, it is just a matter of sorting bone from other different colourations in the rock, like the photo on the right.

  Contact us and we might be able to point you in the right direction.

During your exploring, you might even come across the professionals who have dug up part of the beach, like this photo on the left.  This is a picture of the dig site at 'Eric The Red West'.  Yes, there was also an Eric the Red East!  This dig normally happens twice a year, but recent bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the cancellation of the most recent digs.  

Leaellynasaura, Timimus, Qantassaurus, and Koolasuchus have all been found along the Victorian coast.  Fragments of other dinosaurs, such as ankylosaurs, pterosaurs, plesiosaurs and an allosaurid have also been found, but not enough to claim a new species or match to an existing species.

Queensland

Queensland has some of the widest variety of fossils to be found in Australia.  From the massive suaropods, to enormous sea creatures, down to their individual bones, and other small fossils such as ammonites, mussels, clams and fish.    Several species of dinosaur claim outback Queensland as their home.  Named after the towns they were found near, you can get an idea of just how many have been found in this area; Muttaburrasaurus, Wintonotitan, Diamantinasaurus, Minmi to name just a few.  The Muttaburrasaurus also featured in the recent computer game, Jurassic Park: Evolution.

We mustn't forget the Australovenator.  This medium-sized carnivore actually looks a lot more like the Velociraptor from 'Jurassic Park' than the real velociraptor!  There is an amzaing replica of him outside the Australian Age of dinosaur Museum in Winton.

The photograph on the right shows a vertebra from an Ichthyosaur, a shark tooth, and a belemnite found near Richmond in outback Queensland.

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Queensland

The Australian Dinosaur Trail is a tourist drive well worth the trip.  You can find out more about it here.  It will take you from Richmond to Winton, to Lark Quarry and Hughenden, then over to Porcupine Gorge.  Along the way you'll find a range of experiences to satisfy any dinosaur enthusiast.  

In Winton you'll find the Australian Age of Dinosaur Museum, an incredible example of some of the biggest dinosaurs found in Australia.  In Richmond you can visit Kronosaurus Korner, a small but excellent museum housing Australia's most complete marine reptile ever found, among other incredible specimens.  Lark Quarry has the famous dinosaur stampede, with over 3,000 footprints from over 150 two-legged dinosaurs.

Most sites are on private property, and you would need permission from the land owners to hunt for fossils there.  If you speak to the museums, they may even be able to point you in the right direction.  Kronosaurus Korner has two locations they send fossil hunters to.

The photo on the left shows part of the rostrum (jawbone) from an ichthyosaur, also found near Richmond, Queensland.

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