Australia, a super flat and incredibly dry place, is home to the vast Outback, covering most of the land. Surprisingly, much of this desolate area was once the bottom of an ocean, and it still hides really old animal fossils.
These ancient fossils, called Ediacara biota, are now protected in the Nilpena Ediacara National Park, which just opened to the public. The park is already famous for its fossil beds, which visitors can get super close to. An American scientist named Mary L. Droser found some of the best fossils at Nilpena.
Animal Fossils are About 550 Million Years Old
These fossils are about 550 million years old, which is much older than anyone you know. These fossil beds give us snapshots of what the ocean floor was like back then. It’s like taking a picture of time. And they’ve taught us some amazing things, like the first time animals started having babies, the oldest big underwater creatures, and when animals learned to move around.
At Nilpena, there are almost 40 animal fossils bed, and there are more to find. When you visit the park, you can take cool tours to see these old fossils up close. There’s also a way to watch and listen to stories about these ancient fossils. It’s like traveling back in time!
Nilpena is so Important
Because Nilpena is so important, you can’t just walk in by yourself. You need to join a special tour. Only one person, Ross Fargher, who owns a nearby hotel, can take you there. Ross found some fossils in the ’80s, and his discoveries are a big deal. He’s part of a long history of people who found these ancient fossils.
These fossils are a window into the past, and there’s nothing else like them in the world. Mary L. Droser and her team are even working on making Nilpena and the nearby Flinders Ranges a World Heritage Site. That would be like giving it a super special award for being a really important place for everyone to protect.
So, even though Australia’s Outback might seem dry and empty, it’s actually hiding secrets that are super old and super cool.