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Earth Movement

Fossil imprint of Nothofagus leaves from Antarctica
Fossil imprint of Nothofagus leaves from Antarctica
Photographer - John Broomfield
Source - Museum Victoria

The tall eucalypt forests in the mountains east of Melbourne contain a large number of plants and animals which are found only in Australia. They bear little resemblance to those of other continents. This seems logical - after all Australia is an island with flora and fauna which is largely separate from the flora and fauna of other continents.

In the protected damp gullies and along southern aspects, there are pockets of a very different type of forest - different from the eucalypt forest but uncannily similar to certain forests in New Zealand, South America and other lands separated by vast oceans. This cool temperate rainforest is even represented in Antarctic fossils. How could this have come to be? Evidence derived from rocks, fossils, plant and animal taxonomy suggests an explanation - a dramatic history of moving continents, changing climates and evolutionary processes.

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