'Life in a glass house' - The Pliocene deposits of Chinchilla

Julien Louys, Joanne Wilkinson

    Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle

    Abstract

    A shot rings out in the waning light of the day. Its late afternoon in Chinchilla, down at the rifle range. The echo of the rifle shot reverberates off the gully walls; its the last shot of the day and as it fades away the ancient creatures that inhabit this area have the place to themselves once again. They dont mind sharing with these strange visitors though. Theyve been here for millions of years and in that time theyve seen all sorts come and go. Theyre the monsters and marvels, beasts and critters of a time known as the Pliocene a weird world, reminiscent of our own in many ways, but in other ways vastly different! The Pliocene the geological period between 5.6 and 2.6 million years ago was a time of great climatic and environmental upheaval. Following on from the generally cool and dry conditions that characterised the late Miocene, the beginning of the Pliocene was warm and wet and it was during this period that many of the marsupials that dominate modern Australian ecosystems, including quolls, dunnarts, bandicoots, wombats and long-faced kangaroos first appeared in the fossil record. Rodents, which today make up about 25% of modern Australian mammalian diversity, also arrived on the scene during this time, most likely as a result of accidental rafting from Southeast Asia
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages38-51
    No.12
    Specialist publicationAustralian Age of Dinosaurs
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

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