VP fieldtrip to Victoria

I was back in the office after a week away on the Flinders University 3rd year Vertebrate Palaeontology field trip to Victoria (in south-eastern Australia).

First, we explored some Silurian and Devonian deposits in the Grampians (Gariwerd on Jardwardjali land), including some spectacular trace fossils from the Glen Isla Quarry and Homestead, whilst camping at the beautiful Buandik Campground.

Silverband Falls, Grampians N. P.

Next we moved on to Mansfield in the foothills of the Victorian Alps (Taungurung) to work on the Kevington Creek Formation of the South Blue Range (mid-Devonian), and the Devil’s Plain Formation (Carboniferous).

View from South Blue Range, Mansfield

These sites were relatively productive with us discovering many plant fossils (e.g. Lepidodendron), placoderms (including Bothriolepis, Groenlandaspis and Austrophyllolepis), and some tiny sharks teeth from Kevington Creek Formation.

I was pleased to find a block containing what looked like skull roof bones from a rhizodont (Barameda), a large predatory fish known to come from the Carboniferous deposits of “Fish Hill”. We also found numerous large spines from acanthodians (“spiny” stem sharks).

I found a block containing impressions of some rhizodont skull at “Fish Hill” in Mansfield

Lastly, we jumped through time on our way home to the Pleistocene of Warrnambool on the Great Ocean Road of western Victoria. There we saw megafauna trackways (including those from the marsupial “lion”, Thylacoleo) at Thunder Point and heard about human habitation of the Moyjil and Tower Hill area from >35,000 years ago, and possibly as long ago as 120,000 (!) from Dr John Sherwood.

Thunder Point, Warrnambool

We were so lucky to be able to run our fieldtrip this year after two failed expeditions last year (COVID-related). We got to visit some truly spectacular places, and found plenty of fish fossils so all in all, a great success, I’d say!