For this year’s National Science Week, several palaeontologists from Flinders University and the University of Adelaide got together to discuss and debate which of several time periods in the South Australian fossil record was the most awesome! The event was hosted by singing palaeontologist Professor Flint of Dinosaur University, and Dinosaurs Down Under, and included songs by the Professor, and several performers from Adelaide Youth Theatre. The final part of the event was a Q&A conducted by Professor Flint, where the panel of palaeontologists talked about a range of issues, and the remarkable South Australian fossil record.
For South Australians, learning about our fossil record is important for several reasons. Firstly, there is a great deal of science to be explored, and palaeontology oﬀers a great gateway into many, many areas. Secondly, to learn about our own fossil record is to learn about the prehistoric place in which we live. It is a way of connecting to some of the stories of the land upon which we walk, and in so doing, is a part of our identity as South Australians.
The four palaeontologists who spoke, and the palaeontological time zones that they focused on are as follows:
- Dr Felicity Coutts on the Ediacara Biotoa
- A/Professor Diego Garcia-Bellido on the Cambrian
- Professor Mike Lee on the Mesozoic
- Diana Fusco on the Cenozoic
In the week leading up to The Great South Australian Fossil Debate, each of the 4 presented a short intro to their main area of expertise, focussing on a particular number of fossils. Shot on location, the videos see each palaeontologist surrounded by some remarkable fossils and a live animal here and there!
The following link will take you to the debate. It can be watched in full, and can also be watched in smaller sections. One time period at a time. Or just the Q&A.
If on watching you or your students have any questions or wish to know more you can follow Professor Flint as Dean of Science at Dinosaur University on the Dinosaur University Facebook Page. You can also contact Professor Flint’s alter-ego, HeapsGood Productions Creative Director Michael Mills for information on curriculum-based school or club workshops and performances, including in-person or Zoom sessions, via email@example.com
As a bonus, here’s a link to the Professor Flint song “Spriggina”. Spriggina is the South Australian fossil emblem, and part of the Ediacara Biota.
Finally, here is the YouTube playlist where all the videos have been uploaded, along with the individual components within the Debate.
- Professor Flint, Dinosaur University