Riversleigh fossils

      any of numerous assemblages of fossils found at Riversleigh Station, in northwestern Queensland, Australia, which together constitute the richest and most diverse collection of fossils ever found on that continent. Riversleigh is an isolated area about 140 miles (225 km) northwest of the city of Mount Isa. The fossils are found in limestone rock outcrops near the Gregory River. Since the Australian paleontologist Michael Archer began intensive explorations of the area in 1983, Riversleigh has yielded the remains of more than 200 previously unknown species of vertebrates. Most of the specimens lived in the Miocene epoch (23.7 million to 5.3 million years ago) or in the succeeding Pliocene epoch (about 5.3 million to 1.6 million years ago). The finds included many types of early (and extinct) marsupials, ranging from a large carnivorous kangaroo and marsupial “lions” and “wolves” to miniature koalas and phalangers. Other finds included dozens of new species of bats, a prehistoric type of platypus, and several unknown species of reptiles and rodents. The Riversleigh fossils vastly expanded existing knowledge of Australia's prehistoric life and of the evolutionary history of its marsupials.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Riversleigh — Infobox World Heritage Site WHS = Australian Fossil Mammal Sites (Riversleigh/Naracoorte) State Party = AUS Type = Natural Criteria = viii, ix ID = 698 Region = Asia Pacific Year = 1994 Session = 18th Link =… …   Wikipedia

  • Riversleigh — /ˈrɪvəzli/ (say rivuhzlee) noun an area in the southern part of Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park in north western Qld, noted for proliferation of mammal fossils; with Naracoorte Caves National Park in SA forms the Australian Fossil Mammal… …   Australian English dictionary

  • Mike Archer (paleontologist) — Mike Archer (born 1945, Sydney, New South Wales) is an Australian paleontologist specialising in Australia vertebrates. He is a Professor at the School of Biological, Earth Environmental Sciences, University of New South Wales. His previous… …   Wikipedia

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  • Naracoorte Caves National Park — noun a national park in south eastern SA, proclaimed in 2001 to protect the fossils of the Naracoorte Caves; with Riversleigh in Qld forms the Australian Fossil Mammal Sites inscribed in the World Heritage List in 1994. 600 ha. Fossil deposits in …   Australian English dictionary

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