Riversleigh section of the Australian Fossil Mammal Sites World Heritage natural criteria

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Key finding

The Riversleigh section of the Australian Fossil Mammal Sites meets two World Heritage natural criteria: major stages of earth's history; and ongoing geological processes.

Riversleigh section of Australian Fossil Mammal Sites (information applies statewide, map locations are for reference only)

Riversleigh is one of the world's most important fossil sites.

The area provides a superb fossil record of the evolution of exceptional mammal fauna from the late Oligocene (25 million years ago) to present day. The fossils of Riversleigh have profoundly altered our understanding of Australia’s vertebrate diversity. Here we find the first records for many distinctive groups of living mammals such as marsupial moles and feather-tailed possums, as well as many other unique and now extinct Australian mammals such as marsupial lions.

Riversleigh's fossils provide an unparalleled window into the Oligo-Miocene (15-25 million years ago) rainforest mammals that evolved in isolation during Australia's separation from Antarctica. Riversleigh has more than trebled previous knowledge about the diversity of Australian terrestrial vertebrates from the era. Considering just mammals spanning the last 25 million years, hundreds of new species, genera, families and even a new order of very unusual mammals have been described.

Because of its unrivalled richness, expanse of time covered by its record, and the quality of the fossils, Riversleigh was declared, along with Naracoorte in South Australia, a World Heritage site in 1994.

More information:

Indicator: Area reflects the scope and breadth of world heritage natural criteria

Riversleigh section of Australian fossil mammal sites world heritage natural criteria identified by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), World Heritage Convention.

Riversleigh section of Australian fossil mammal sites world heritage natural criteria

World heritage natural criteria Criteria summary

Download data from Queensland Government data