Riversleigh fossils
Riversleigh has rich deposits of well-preserved vertebrate fossils.

Excavation at Riversleigh.

Riversleigh research program

25 million years of evolution and environmental change in Australia

30 million years ago, the last remnant of the super-continent Gondwana had fractured into Australia and Antarctica. Isolated on the northward-drifting Australian continent, the evolving inhabitants of this landmass diversified during millions of years of environmental change. In northern Queensland this remarkable history was preserved in one of the most extraordinary fossil records on earth. From the unique and spectacular fossil sites at Riversleigh comes the story of more than 25 million years of evolution and extinction.


Riversleigh's rich fossil record has been the focus of major research efforts for the last 30 years. These finds have enabled many scientists to improve our understanding of evolution, ecology, climate change and geological processes occurring in Australia over the last 25 million years. The rocks at Riversleigh are rich in well-preserved fossils representing not only the ancestors of modern Australian fauna, plants and invertebrates (often the only or oldest known fossils) but also entirely new kinds of animals previously unknown to science.

At last count, research at Riversleigh - a combined effort involving dozens of scientists around the world and resulting in hundreds of scientific publications - has more than trebled previous knowledge about the diversity of Australia's terrestrial Tertiary mammals with over 250 new species, new genera, families and orders.

Riversleigh scientific literature

Click here for a list of scientific publications relating to Riversleigh research.

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Latest news

CAVEPS 2015 logo Research showcased at CAVEPS 2015
20 September 2015
The 15th biennial Conference on Australasian Vertebrate Evolution, Palaeontology and Systematics (CAVEPS) was held in Alice Springs on 1-5 September 2015.

Field team Riversleigh expedition 2015
01 August 2015
The 2015 expedition to Riversleigh produced some great results.

Bilby Palaeontologists unearth rare 15-million-year-old bilby
21 March 2014
An ancient fossil of the bilby, Australia's answer to the Easter rabbit, has been discovered at the Riversleigh World Heritage site in north west Queensland.

More news >>


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Excavation at Riversleigh

Main research program: Riversleigh

The rocks at Riversleigh are rich in well-preserved fossil remains of the ancestors of the modern Australian fauna and entirely new kinds of animals previously unknown to science.



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Help support Australian palaeontological research

The CREATE fund has been established to facilitate and conduct research into our past. Individuals can help through donations.