26 July 2016
South Australians can help choose our new state fossil emblem by voting for their favourite ancient marine creature. One of four different fossils that lived 645 to 542 million years ago in the Ediacaran hills of the Flinders Ranges, will join South Australia’s existing emblems of the Sturt’s desert pea, the hairy-nosed wombat, the opal gemstone and the leafy sea dragon.
‘South Australia is known worldwide in science for its amazing fossil record of the Ediacara biota—the oldest evidence of complex marine animals on Earth,’ says palaeontologist Jim Gehling, Senior Research Scientist at the South Australian Museum.
‘The Ediacara fossils are found embedded throughout the scenic peaks of the Flinders Ranges and nowhere else on earth are the pages of history better revealed.’
People can engage with the fossils via organised Museum displays and activities, and vote for their favourite fossil online at yoursay.sa.gov.au website. Voting will open on 16 July and close on 21 August at the end of Science week, after which the Premier will announce the winning candidate.
Adopting a state fossil emblem acknowledges our state’s significant contribution to the discovery and characterisation of the Ediacaran fauna and will engender a sense of pride and ownership toward South Australia’s unique fossil heritage.
‘The Museum holds wonderful fossil collections from different geological time periods and locations across the State,’ says Museum Director Brian Oldman.
‘The Fossil Emblem Project will help people to engage with the Ediacaran fossils and understand South Australia’s incredibly significant role in their discovery and characterisation. A community intrigued by these fossils will help fulfill the Museum’s mission of sharing knowledge and inspiring the next generation of budding scientists.’
The emblem will be selected from four Ediacaran species nominated by a scientific advisory committee led by the South Australian Museum: Spriggina floundersi, a segmented animal named after Ediacaran discoverer Reg Sprigg; Dickinsonia costata, a large, circular flattened worm; Tribrachidium heraldicum, a disc-shaped creature with three ‘arms’; and Parvancorina minchami, a small, anchor-shaped creature.
The State Fossil Emblem project is being coordinated by the South Australian Museum, in collaboration with the Department of State Development; the Department for Environment, Water and Natural Resources; and the Department of the Premier and Cabinet.