Riversleigh section of the Australian Fossil Mammal Sites World Heritage natural criteria
The Riversleigh section of the Australian Fossil Mammal Sites meets 2 World Heritage natural criteria: major stages of earth's history and ongoing geological processes.
Riversleigh lies within the Country of the Waanyi peoples and although Riversleigh is not currently listed for its cultural value, the region holds significant meaning as their spiritual and sacred Boodjamulla (Rainbow Serpent) Country.
Riversleigh is one of the most significant fossil deposits in the world and the richest known fossil mammal deposit in Australia. Its fossils date back as far as the Oligo-Miocene period, 10-30 million years ago.
Riversleigh's fossils provide an unparalleled window into the Oligo-Miocene rainforest mammals that evolved in isolation during Australia's separation from Antarctica.
The fossils of Riversleigh have profoundly altered our understanding of Australia’s vertebrate diversity. 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, are found at Riversleigh.
The variety of deposits at Riversleigh also has led to an understanding of how the environment has changed over time from a rich rainforest community to semi-arid grassland, and how the animals that lived there have changed.
Because of its unrivalled richness, expanse of time covered by its record, and the quality of the fossils, Riversleigh, along with Naracoorte in South Australia, was declared a serial World Heritage site (Australian Fossil Mammal Sites) in 1994.
Relevant Sustainable Development Goals’ targets
Riversleigh section of Australian fossil mammal sites World Heritage natural criteria
|World Heritage natural criteria||Criteria summary|
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.