Footprints at Ceduna


Flinders Palaeontology

Flinders Palaeontology explores the history of vertebrate life on Earth from the Palaeozoic to the Present day. Researchers address major evolutionary and ecological problems involving birds, reptiles, mammals and fishes from Australia and the four corners of the globe. Across the course of several decades, the group has assembled several datasets for a range of large projects. These were collated to form the core of the Atlas of Prehistoric Australia with funding from the Australian National Data Service via its Major Open Data Collection initiative.

DAVO dataset

The Database of Australasian Vertebrate Occurrences (DAVO) is a terrestrial, Cenozoic dataset collated in the 2000s by Dirk Megirian and Gavin Prideaux to develop the Australian Land Mammal Age biochronological scheme (Megirian et al. 2010, Paleobiology), primarily via an exhaustive literature review. Mammals were the main focus of the dataset, but it includes occurrence data for other vertebrates and terrestrial molluscs found in association with vertebrate fossils.

Aus BIRDS dataset

This dataset was collated by Trevor Worthy. It focusses on the Australian Tertiary avian fossil record however it is considered a work in progress, as it does not include marine taxa (e.g. penguins, procellariids etc.). Additional Pleistocene records derived from major publications are included, but there has been no attempt made to include Holocene occurrences. These data have been augmented by personal observation of specimens in collections by T. H. Worthy and the information here reflects that on the labels or in catalogues. All relevant publications concerning the specimens are provided. Taxa are primarily listed by the nomenclature currently in use, but synonymised names in which they were described, or under which the record was published, are also given. It is envisaged that this data base will be periodically updated by the Flinders Palaeontology Laboratory.

Aus Fossil Fish dataset

The fossil fish database incorporates all of the known taxa of fish species from the perfectly preserved complete specimens to those known only from isolated scale or teeth taxa. These records include the world’s possible oldest jawed fish remains (Tantalepis, a 480 million year old series of shark-like scales) to late Tertiary records of extant marine fish otoliths, covering around 500 or so taxa. This database covers all groups, living and extinct, from the jawless agnathan groups, through to early jawed fishes like ‘placoderms’ and ‘acanthodians’ plus the great diversity of bony fishes (Osteichthyes) and sharks, rays and kin (Chondrichthyes). The database gives the complete geographical and temporal picture of how fish evolved throughout Australia as they spread from a dominantly marine environment to freshwater about 390 million years ago, as well as those lineages that remained and diversified within the marine realm. It shows Australia has the world’s best and most continuous record of lungfishes, from 400 million year old taxa like Ichnomylax to the longest lived species of vertebrate on the planet, the Queensland lungfish, Neoceratodus forsteri, which first appeared 130 million years ago.