Fossil emblem FAQs

What is a fossil emblem?

Each state and territory in Australia have certain emblems that represent significance to the people living there. For example, each state and territory have a state bird emblem, a state mammal emblem, and a state floral emblem. Some states and territories are also beginning to adopt a state fossil emblem to have a representation of the evolution and geographical changes that have occurred in the region.

Why is Victoria getting a fossil emblem?

State emblems recognise and celebrate the natural history of their region. Most Australian States have selected floral, faunal, fossil, and mineral emblems. Victoria has designated floral, faunal and mineral emblems but currently does not have a fossil emblem. 

The geological history of Victoria stretches back over 600 million years. By looking at the fossil record, we discover the intriguing deep-time story of our region. The story includes massive movements in the continents due to plate tectonics, a changing climate, and the evolution of living ecosystems.

Exceptional fossils from internationally significant fossil sites in Victoria provide a vivid picture of Victoria's geological history, and the evolution of life on Earth. There are many special fossils that capture our imagination and are unique to this region. 

Do any other states in Australia have fossil emblems?

Yes – currently, states that have a state fossil emblem are New South Wales (Devonian fish Mandageria fairfaxi), South Australia (Spriggina floundersi), and Western Australia (Gogo fish). Australian Capital Territory recently announced their intent to officially instate the trilobite Batocara mitchelli as their fossil emblem after a public voting campaign.

Do other countries have fossil emblems?

Yes. Most states in the United States of America have a state fossil emblem.

Why were these fossils chosen?

Museums Victoria have selected eight possible candidates for a fossil emblem based on the following criteria:

1) The fossils represent a distinct organism (not a generic fossil group no matter how significant, or a trace fossil without clearly knowing what made it).

2) Victoria has the best ‘claim’ on this fossil as our own, for example, the fossil is unique to Victoria (found nowhere else), Victoria has the best/most complete examples of this fossils of this species in Australia or the fossil comes from a significant Victorian fossil site.

3) The fossil is significant to science and tells us something important about the evolution of life.

4) As a fossil emblem it has the potential to excite public interest. This could mean that even if the fossil itself is small or modest, the species which it records is interesting. Aspects which would be important to this could include links to a particular region, historical and cultural significance, an interesting story of discovery or being a charismatic organism with unusual features or behaviour.

Who selected the fossil candidates?

An expert panel of palaeontologists, geologists and scientists from Museums Victoria.

Can I view the fossil candidates in-person? 

Yes! Museums Victoria will have the state fossil emblem candidates on display in the 600 Million Years exhibition in Melbourne Museum’s Science & Life Gallery until Monday 4 October.  This is included with general museum entry. Buy tickets to Melbourne Museum.

When will the winner be announced?

The winner will be announced after voting closes and the process of ratifying is complete.

Followed by social media updates on Museums Victoria and an email to anyone who has opted in for post-voting updates.

How long will the voting period run for?

Voting opens 10am on Wednesday 11 August 2021 and closes at 5pm on Monday 4 October 2021.

How many times can you vote?

Each person can vote once, so be sure to think thoroughly about your choice before casting your vote!

Can people outside of Victoria vote?

Voting is restricted to residents of Victoria.

I used to live in Victoria but have since moved. Can I still vote?

You need a Victorian postcode to enter your vote with – only votes with a Victorian postcode listed will be counted.

What happens after the winner is announced?

Following the public vote, the winner will be submitted to Government for official endorsement after which our new fossil emblem will be announced.

How long will it take to officially legislate the winning fossil?

The length of time will be largely dependent on the Victorian Parliament, and Museums Victoria will update the public once the winning fossil has been officially legislated as the state fossil emblem.

What will happen to my data and personal details used for voting?

Museums Victoria will not disclose your personal information to other organisations without your consent, except where Museums Victoria is required or authorised to do so by law.

If you wish to access or make corrections to your personal information, please contact Museums Victoria’s Privacy Officer, GPO Box 666, Melbourne VIC 3001 or by email at [email protected].

Museums Victoria is committed to protecting personal information provided in accordance with the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (Vic). For details about how we handle personal information, please refer to our Privacy Policy.

Can underage people participate in the voting?

Yes. When voting, you will be asked to tick a box confirming that you are either an adult or are being supervised by an adult. All that is required to vote is an email and a Victorian postcode, so minors are encouraged to use their parents or school email address (with permission!) to cast their vote.

Is there a way for schools get involved?

Absolutely! We encourage schools to participate; schools could rally behind a fossil found close to their geographical location, or classrooms could each choose a fossil and compete against each other to earn votes. We have lots of fun images available to help you promote your favourite fossil!

Why is Museums Victoria running this process?

As Australia’s largest public museum institution and a leader in palaeontology, Museums Victoria has been trusted with the opportunity to oversee this process and to run a public voting campaign for the selection of the fossil emblem.

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