15 September – Riversleigh Fossil Site

Only a short drive from Lawn Hill we camped at the Miyumba bush camp near the beautiful Gregory River which was flowing strongly over the causeway.

Riversleigh Fossils (13)

It was a warm afternoon and we waited until the morning to visit the open, exposed fossil site in cooler conditions. The fossil beds are recognised as a World Heritage site because of their unrivalled collection of fossils – the mineral rich rivers which we had camped near for the past few nights were part of the story providing unique conditions that allowed a diversity of animals to be preserved and fossilized.

The site is pretty amazing and although most of the fossils are fragments of bone that we couldn’t interpret ourselves, there are some great recognisable pieces such as the turtle shell, crocodile and ‘Big Bird’ that are identified and signposted.

‘Big Bird’ is fantastic – not just a massive leg bone of an emu like bird that stood 4 or 5 metres tall, but also the gizzard stones are preserved next to it in the rock. Not much time is required here as the walk is fairly short and there’s a basic information ‘cave’ that has some good background stories but our plan was to visit the Riversleigh fossil centre and laboratories in Mt Isa anyway so we would learn more from the experts working on the fossils.

Riversleigh Fossils- Big Bird (2)

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