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About 65 million years ago, a sudden change in the earth’s atmosphere, probably caused by a meteorite, wiped out the dinosaurs, plesiosaurs and pterosaurs. Reptiles such as crocodiles and snakes survived, as did some birds and mammals, giving rise to all the animals that exist today, including humans.

Dinosaur fossils

Fossils are the traces and remains of ancient animals preserved in rock. They can be bones or teeth that over millions of years have been replaced with rock, or the footprints of animals made in what was then mud or clay.

People who look for and study the fossils of ancient creatures are called palaeontologists.

Very special circumstances are needed to create fossils, which is why they are so rare. In Australia, dinosaurs are known from only a few fossil sites including Dinosaur Cove in Victoria, Winton in Queensland and Broome in Western Australia.

Click on the photos below for more information

  • Cast of a three-toed dinosaur footprint in reddish sandy soil.
    Dinosaur footprint
  • Aerial view of rock indented with various footprints and markings.
    Lark Quarry dinosaur tracks
  • External image of a building surrounded by low scrub.
    Lark Quarry conservation
  • Illustration showing various dinosaurs by water.
    Dinosaur Cove
  • Aerial view of a large, circular depression in the earth's surface.
    Meteorite crater
  • Reconstruction of a dinosaur skeleton on show in a gallery space. Two large horns and one smaller horn protrude from the dinosaur's head.
    Triceratops skeleton
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