Wildlife of Gondwana Exhibition

Australian Dinosaurs Australian Dinosaurs (Artist: Peter Trusler, © Australia Post, reproduced with kind permission of the Australia Post Corporation)

Unearthed Treasures

DINOSAURS are back in the Otways!
A major science exhibition that has smashed museum attendance records around the world is now open in Apollo Bay. It tells the story of world-first and unique discoveries in the Otways.

Seen by millions of people in Taiwan, Italy, Argentina and Singapore, the exhibition is located just five minutes’ drive from Apollo Bay, and showcases the fossil record from the Great Southern Continent.

It includes fossils that span almost 3.8 billion years to the present, covering a massive range of specimens – from the pin-up girl of the dinosaur world, Leaellynasaura, who was a tiny polar dinosaur discovered on the Otways coast, right through to Tarbosaurus bataar an aggressive carnivore more than 8m long.

Otway Dinosaurs - Wildlife of Gondwana Exhibition Wildlife of Gondwana Exhibition (Photo: David Simmonds)

Polar Dinosaurs

ABOUT 106 million years ago coastal Victoria was within the Antarctic Circle – it was one of the coldest places on earth and home to some fascinating dinosaurs.

Among the amazing finds in the Otways was Leaellynasaura – a remarkable little dinosaur who lived in the Early Cretaceous period – was likely to have been partly or completely warm-blooded, which is how she survived the long, dark winters.

Leaellynasaura Leaellynasaura (Artist: Peter Trusler, © Australia Post, reproduced with kind permission of the Australia Post Corporation)

The discovery of Leaellynasaura helped scientists rethink and rewrite the history of dinosaurs, which had been for the most part thought of as cold-blooded.

With her big eyes, Leaellynasaura would have had no trouble seeing during the long winter darkness and there would have been plenty of plants for her to eat.

A Blast from the Past

OTWAY DINOSAURS has been created to bring the story of Dinosaur Cove, just 30 minutes drive west of Apollo Bay, into the public domain to make sure real science isn’t forgotten.

Hundreds of palaeontologists and volunteers chipped, jackhammered and blasted away at the Otways foreshore – over a period of ten years – to uncover a raft of bone fragments and skulls.

It’s an amazing story of intrepid volunteers who descended a sheer, slippery cliff face to mine into ancient rock, with the Southern Ocean regularly threatening to overtake them.

They found ancient flood deposits that revealed some amazing creatures, changing the way we look at dinosaurs.

The dig at Dinosaur Cove The dig at Dinosaur Cove (Photo: Tom Rich)

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