Trickster quiz

Every day, the Ask Us team at Museums Victoria is sent identification requests and questions about commonly misidentified “trickster” objects – we’re talking meteor-wrongs, pseudofossils and prizes that aren’t prizes.

Let’s get started!

What's that thing?

Is this a fossil?

Which one of these items was awarded as a prize?

You won the prize!

The prize is is a bronze medal from the 1888 Melbourne Centennial International Exhibition. The other object shown here is a trade token.

During the gold rush, a shortage of copper coins & pennies and halfpennies made it legal for Victorian shopkeepers to issue their own copper coins, as long as they looked different from official currency.

Which of these are fossils?

On the right we have the plant fossil, a fossilised club moss from Victoria. The other specimen is a kind of pseudofossil known as a dendrite – a delicately branching design of mineral deposits that really do look a bit like ferns or feathers.

OK, now for things from space – which one is the meteorite?

Mission control, we are good to go – that thing on the right, it’s a Meteorite, all right!

This is a portion of an Iron Octahedrite from the Henbury Meteorite Craters in the Northern Territory. On the left, we have a meteo-rong! We don’t mean to be rude, but this is slag, not a meteorite. It’s molten waste products from an old furnace or fireplace.

How about this? Find the fossil!

One the left are fossilised dinosaur eggs from China, currently on display in Dinosaur Walk at Melbourne Museum. The one on the right might look a lot like an egg, but it’s actually a cannonball concretion, a non-biological geological structure. Layers get added over time, giving it that “shelled” appearance!  

We’re both very cute, but can you pick which one of us is the native Bush Rat?

It’s very easy to get the Black Rat (Rattus rattus) and the Bush Rat (Rattus fuscipes) mixed up. Some of the keys to identification include Also, generally speaking, Bush Rats don’t like hanging around where people are!

Last fossil question we promise - is this a fossil?

Which of these is the meteorite?

The meteorite is on the right, specifically it is a Stony-Iron Meteorite from Molong, New South Wales. On the left we have a piece of Ironstone, a Sandstone rich in Iron Oxides. Not everything with iron in it is a meteorite – in fact, most things with iron aren’t meteorites, it’s a very common element in good old Earth rocks.

You scored 8

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