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

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 richest Oligo-Miocene mammal records, linking that period (10-30 million years ago) to the predominantly modern assemblages of the Pliocene and Pleistocene epochs. 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 rainforest mammals that evolved in isolation during Australia's separation from Antarctica. 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.

The variety of deposits at Riversleigh 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 in it have changed too.

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.

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

Last updated 10 May 2019