The tetrapod or ‘four-footed’ vertebrate fossil record of Victoria has four strengths.
- Some of the oldest evidence of four-footed land vertebrates anywhere on Earth is a trackway from the Genoa River area of eastern Victoria. They are about 360 million years old.
- In rocks between 106 and 115 million years old exposed on the coast a variety of animals have been found, including amphibians, turtles, dinosaurs, and mammals. At that time, southeastern Australia was located within the Antarctic Circle, adding particular interest to these fossils because they were polar. The desire for comparison of Victoria’s polar dinosaurs with those from elsewhere has resulted in Museum Victoria personnel developing novel ways to excavate dinosaurs in northern Alaska.
- Oligocene to Holocene (30 to 0 million years old) marine sedimentary rocks are widely exposed across the southern half of Victoria. These rocks yield an abundant fossil record of marine mammals, especially whales and dolphins. This archive of past marine mammal diversity enables researchers to track the evolution of whales, seals and dugongs during major climatic and oceanographic changes over the last 30 million years.
- In many parts of the State, fossil remains of Megafauna are found which lived during the past 1.8 million years. The Megafauna includes the extinct Diprotodon (largest marsupial that ever lived), along with the so-called "marsupial-lion", Thylacoleo, the first specimen of which was found in Victoria.
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