From Dinosaurs to Diprotodons

Museums Victoria publishes a fossil-hunting children's book by award-winning author, Danielle Clode.

From Dinosaurs to Diprotodons. Australia’s Amazing Fossils

Scattered right across the Australian landscape are little-known sites where fossils of fascinating animals that once roamed Earth can be found. A new and insightful book for primary school children, From Dinosaurs to Diprotodons, takes readers on an exploratory journey to discover some of these places and the remarkable fossils that have been unearthed there.

This book will be released tomorrow, August 1, and its author will conduct a special reading at Melbourne Museum on August 22 as part of Children's Book Week. 

Pages from the book From Dinosaurs to Diprotodons
Great Sharks and Toothy Birds From Dinosaurs to Diprotodons

Author Danielle Clode said that she is thrilled to be introducing some of Australia’s most exciting and important fossil discoveries to young children.

"Australia has so many amazing fossil locations – some of them isolated in the outback and some of them right near our biggest cities. You might be able to find fossils near where you live or where you go for holidays. I love the idea that you can literally walk in the footsteps of dinosaurs. A lot of famous fossils have been found by kids and everyday fossickers."

jaw fossil
Diprotodon teeth

"And all the time, new and incredible creatures are being discovered: giant titanosaurs, ancient whales and strange marsupials. Hopefully this book will encourage more interest in Australian fossils and help people get out there and visit places across Australia where they were found and where these amazing animals once roamed."

Some of the 14 fossil-sites readers can discover include Dinosaur Cove in Victoria, a valley that once joined Australia and Antarctica, where some of the first known Australian dinosaurs were found and Eromanga in Queensland, where palaeontologists have unearthed fossils of the titanosaur, one of the largest dinosaurs to have ever existed.

Page from Danielle Clode book From Dinosaurs to Diprotodons
Polar Dinosaurs From Dinosaurs to Diprotodons

Other sites featured include Naracoorte Caves (SA), Torquay Coast (VIC), Beaumaris (VIC), Wellington Caves (NSW), Canowindra (NSW), Lightning Ridge (NSW), Riversleigh (QLD), Winton (QLD), Hughenden and Richmond (QLD), Alcoota (NT) and Margaret River (WA).

Museums Victoria, who have published the book, has a collection of more than 17 million items including a significant palaeontology collection of more than 4.5 million fossil specimens. 

Many of these are detailed in this book, including the fossilised skull of Janjucetus, evidence that today’s gentle giant baleen whales have evolved from a small, ferocious toothed whale and the tooth of Livyatan an extinct species of sperm whale which is the largest tooth ever found in Australia. Both of these fossils were found by Victorian locals and donated to Museums Victoria. 

Museums Victoria palaeontologists regularly conduct fieldwork at the Victorian sites outlined in the book and work with amateur fossil hunters and citizen scientists to unearth new fossils. Once they are received by Museums Victoria they become part of research infrastructure which can be accessed by scientists and researchers to understand the world that we live in.  

From Dinosaurs to Diprotodons: Australia’s Amazing Fossils is on sale Wednesday 1 August in the Melbourne Museum Shop, online and in book shops across Australia.

About the Author

"Danielle Clode is one of the finest writers on natural history I have enjoyed reading" - Robyn Williams, ABC Radio National

Danielle Clode is a zoologist and award-winning Australian science writer. Her writing includes natural history, essays, science-writing, historical fiction and best-selling children’s books. Danielle worked as a zookeeper before completing her doctorate in zoology at Oxford University, studying seabirds and feral mink in Scotland. She has been a freelance writer and researcher ever since. From Dinosaurs to Diprotodons is her third book on Australian fossils published with Museums Victoria. Prehistoric Giants: The Megafauna of Australia, was shortlisted at the 2010 CBCA awards, and Prehistoric Marine Life in Australia’s Inland Sea was longlisted at the 2015 CBCA awards and won the Whitley Award for Best Popular Zoology book. Danielle has also written many successful books for adults including The Wasp and the Orchid which was released in 2018.

Interviews with author Danielle Clode are available.

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